COVID-19 brings changes to fall football season

COVID-19 brings changes to fall football season

ATLANTA — Area high schools are trying to figure out how to tackle the upcoming football season while dealing with COVID-19.

An Emory University disease expert suggests schools should strongly reconsider proceeding with the fall football season with the increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases.

Channel 2′s Tom Regan set out to see what this means for high school football.

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Since June, 655 high school athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 across Georgia.

Lakeside High School in Dekalb County cancelled practices this week after learning one of their players tested positive.

An Emory University epidemiologist says schools should reconsider pushing ahead with the football season.

“Maybe you could swap out tackle football for flag football; take steps to reduce the risk,” Zachery Binney, Ph. D at Emory University said.

Binney said that if Georgia decides to go ahead with full contact football they should consider a smaller network of teams.

'‘So, you would have the same four high schools playing over and over again,” Binney said. “I know it’s not a normal season, but we’re all making sacrifices, and that would go a long way toward giving the virus a smaller network to go through.”

Hall County has six high schools where athletes have tested positive for COVID-19.

“We have received reports of 21 athletes testing positive,” school spokesman Stan Lewis said.

According to Lewis, seven of those athletes are football players.

“We got some safety protocols in place that limit the number of athletes in the locker room, with supervision, so we got social distancing,” Lewis said.

Lewis said Hall County Schools are trying to provide an avenue for athletes to take advantage of the social and emotional benefits of being together with the team while also taking care of student’s health.

Hall County Schools, like others across Georgia, are hopeful they will find a way to safely allow fans to attend football games this fall.