By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
If the state governing body deems it appropriate, Cherokee Central Schools (CCS) will be all in for fall sports. The NCHSAA (North Carolina High School Athletic Association) hasn’t made its decision yet regarding athletics this fall due to the recent rise of COVID-19 cases in the state.
During a meeting on Monday, July 20, the CCS School Board opted to begin the semester on “Plan C” which is remote learning only. The next day, CCS Superintendent Michael Murray put out a letter providing details on how a Plan C academic year will look stating the school will start with online instruction on Wednesday, Aug. 19 and will continue online through at least the first nine weeks.
The following day, the Cherokee Central Schools Athletics Dept. said in a statement, “As we navigate through this first stage of the school year, please be aware that it is our intent for Cherokee Central Schools to continue with full participation in middle and high school athletics in the upcoming year, so far as the NCHSAA provides the allowance to continue statewide.”
The statement continued, “We know that this may sound concerning to some of you, but please know that our student-athletes have already done a tremendous job within the initial five weeks of Phase One workouts. They have shown maturity, understanding, and a commitment to follow whatever protocols are necessary to stay in contention to compete in athletics, as that opportunity still remains for them.”
So far, there has not been an official decision from NCHSAA regarding fall sports.
During a Zoom meeting with journalists statewide on Wednesday, July 8, Que Tucker, NCHSAA commissioner, noted, “At this time…we do not know. But, we promise that we will do the best we can to offer students the opportunity to get on the field and play the games that they enjoy and that they love. Our staff is working to craft new and innovative ways to accommodate schedule changes, to make tweaks that may be necessary to offer competitive opportunities during this current climate.”
Gov. Roy Cooper made his announcement regarding the upcoming academic year on Tuesday, July 14 stating that the state will begin with “Plan B” which is a hybrid of in-person and online instruction.
The next day, Commissioner Tucker said that the start date for all fall sports in the state would be delayed until at least Tuesday, Sept. 1. ‘We know that many decisions are being made relative to the reopening plan your school(s) will follow. After each LEA has had an opportunity to formalize and finalize those reopening plans, the NCHSAA staff will survey the membership to determine how sports should and/or can fit into the various models that will exist across the state.”
She added, “We acknowledge that playing certain sports are more problematic at any time without a vaccine; however, we remain in consultation with our Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) members, and they believe we can and should offer a sports program, with all necessary modifications, delays, etc.”