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Leon County Schools will not be starting fall sports on July 27

Posted at 11:48 AM, Jul 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 19:23:36-04

LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — Leon County Schools will not be starting fall sports, including football, on July 27, according to school officials.

Leon County Schools director of student activities Scott Hansen confirmed the information to ABC 27 Tuesday morning. He said that the district is planning to meet with athletic directors and principals to figure out a plan for the return of athletics.

The FHSAA said Monday night if schools are able, they can begin fall sports on July 27. It is up to each school district whether they want to start back and how they will start.

There will another meeting next Monday with athletic directors, coaches, and principals to talk about the return of athletics. Hopefully by mid next week they'll have a plan for the return.

The numbers in Leon County with COVID-19 partnered with backing school up led them to make the decision to not return to fall athletics on July 27.

As long as schools are out in Leon County, there will be no sports played.

If they're back in school, the goal is to have as many sports return as they can. They will follow CDC guidelines. Football and volleyball may be delayed further than cross country, golf and swimming because they are considered "high risk."

For middle school athletics, because Leon County Schools controls middle school sports, they may flip some sports around. Football and volleyball may be played in the spring. Track may move to October, softball could start in the fall.

Hansen said they are working as hard as they can to make sure athletics returns.

They understand the importance of having sports. They will talk about the ability to travel. Is it safe to? Will they do a city only schedule?

Hansen said he thinks they can get most of the sports in if they are in school.

"It will not look the same," said Hansen. "That's what parents need to understand. It will not be the same thing we had in the past. If we're in school, we will have athletics, but it will not look the same."

If they start school on Aug. 19 they will start practices.

"We're going to try to do the best we can to get the kids out there and have extracurricular activities and be involved in something," Hansen said. "That's our big push to do that but we have to do it safely and make sure everyone, from the coaches to the players to officials to the scorekeepers and fans, whatever we decide to do, there's a lot to it. We're going to try and do that and keep everyone sage. We understand the importance of that."

Leon County does plan to follow the SMAC report that was presented to the FHSAA Board of Directors in the meeting Monday night. Hansen said they'll always side with the health department and medical people before they make a decision. He said emotions get high with all this, but they have to look at the data to make a decision.