Submitted by Cherokee Central School Athletics Dept.
Dear Braves Nation,
We have fielded several similar questions over the past couple of weeks regarding athletics, so we feel it is important to address them on a more public platform.
One question that keeps circulating is “why are we participating in athletics when we’re not attending school?”
-Cherokee Central Schools (CCS) made a commitment to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) to participate in athletics if the NCHSAA moved forward with competition.
-The number of athletes is approximately 7 percent of our total school enrollment. Supervising 90 athletes for a few hours a day is much more manageable in terms of following the strictest COVID-19 safety measures. We stagger practice start and end times to reduce athlete interaction, thereby decreasing exposure opportunities.
-All those associated with CCS athletics – training staff, coaches, athletes, parents, and administration – have done a remarkable job in keeping our students and staff safe. As of this writing, the few cases we’ve had have been mild, and team spread was prevented due to fast decisions and quick action.
-We hope, too, that when CCS does welcome students back under Plan B Hybrid these athletes will set the example for wearing masks, consistent handwashing, and social distancing.
This leads us to our next issue, and that is fan attendance at games. It is known far and wide that the Cherokee Braves and Lady Braves have the very best, most supportive fans of any fan group in the conference, region, and maybe even the state. So, we understand the great desire to be in the bleachers to cheer on the maroon and gold. Please know how much we wish we could fill the Charles George Memorial Arena or any other gym where the Braves and Lady Braves are playing with our great fans.
-We have been given very strict guidelines for fans for home events. We are allowed 25. For away games, we are limited to seven essential staff, which includes our bookkeeper, filmers (2), cleaner, administrator, trainer, and bus driver.
-Every single CCS staff or volunteer that folks happen to see on camera at our away games has a duty. Our essential personnel know they are there to fulfill their duty during their assigned game, and their presence can put us over our limit if they arrive early or stay late.
-When teams come to CHS to play, they submit their essential staff names to us in advance. No one enters if his/her name is not on the list, and we have turned folks away for this very reason.
-Let us keep in mind that all of these protocols are designed to reduce the number of individuals at these “mass gatherings” in order to keep us all as safe as we can be. We want to make sure we are following the rules that are set before us because we do not want to (a) put our student-athletes and staff at risk, and (b) risk any sanctions levied against our teams/program for failure to comply.
-We will only be able to increase our fan attendance when the N.C. Governor and NCHSAA make changes to our allowable capacity.
Our hope is that each of us will shift our attention away from what we cannot do during a global pandemic and look instead toward what we can do. We can watch our live streamed games on our YouTube channel GWY Sports, supported by 104.1 WNCC. We can offer encouragement to our players, teams, and coaches before and after games. We can enjoy the awesome photos taken and posted by A&M Sports, The Smoker Agency, The Cherokee One Feather, and our CHS/CMS Yearbook Adviser.
A final thought that resounds with us daily: let us be extremely grateful that our Braves & Lady Braves are getting to play a sport they love.
As always, if you have questions, please give us a call Monday – Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at CHS: 554-5030.
Thank you for your continued support of our Lady Braves and Braves!