SCCPSS continues to navigate the impact of the high transmission rates of COVID-19 in our area and has implemented certain modifications for athletic activities to lessen the potential for spread of the virus and subsequent disruptions to the learning environment.
The inherent nature of athletic competitions present unique circumstances that in many instances create extensive close contact situations where established mitigation strategies may be relaxed, such as mask wearing during game play.
While we recognize that athletic participation is voluntary, the activities play a significant role in student development and enhance the school community. It is with this in mind that SCCPSS is taking steps to preserve meaningful game play and limit certain non-essential aspects for the preservation of all programs. These moves will help limit exposure and limit the likelihood of game cancellations and major disruptions that can spread into the school classroom. Our first commitment is to maintain in-person learning.
SCCPSS officials track the transmission of COVID-19 in our area and in our schools on a regular basis. While we note that hospitalizations are down, we also recognize that we are far from overcoming the Omicron wall as evidenced by our data. Additionally, we recognize other Districts vary in their mitigation strategies. However, with adjustments to operational aspects we can remain committed to local strategies that have successfully worked to minimize the spread while providing opportunities throughout sporting seasons to effectively compete with other Districts.
The facts used to make our decision to postpone non-essential travel for athletics are as follows:
- The Community Transmission Index was at 3,080 when the decisions were initially made. The CTI is currently at 3,118 as of January 25
- As of January 21, Chatham County had 9,068 students that were unable to engage in in-person learning due to COVID related concerns and 376 quarantined personnel.
- Five SCCPSS schools to include Beach, Groves, Johnson, Islands (High Schools), as well as Shuman Elementary School, had to shift to virtual learning for at least one week due to COVID related staff shortages and student cases, with Beach having to remain virtual for an additional week.
- From January 3 through January 25, we have had 31 contests cancelled or rescheduled due to COVID exposures. Many of them region competitions.
- Precautionary steps taken as a result of the extreme level of transmission:
- Postpone non-essential travel
- Reduce capacity
- Continue to require masks in venues
SCCPSS is not banning athletic travel. We are suspending non-essential travel and only allowing travel to competitions that have a meaningful impact on the school's region standing and future opportunities for state play.
COVID safety actions will be reviewed after 10 days.
This month five non-region contests have been cancelled with the option to reschedule if possible.
SCCPSS held a media availability to answer questions regarding the temporary change on Wednesday, January 26, 2022. You can view that interview in its entirety here.