All TSSAA COVID restrictions were lifted on February 1 just as many school winter sports enter tournament phases of their seasons. With family, students, and faculty now allowed back in the stands, how are individual schools keeping some restrictions in place?
Governor Lee states that Tennessee’s COVID-19 numbers continue to rapidly improve with almost a 60 percent decline in cases and nearly a 40 percent decline in hospitalizations because of the efforts of Tennesseans to wear masks, wash hands and limit gatherings.
“When case counts were at their highest, we placed temporary, targeted restrictions on indoor school sporting events. The data now reflects rapidly falling numbers and because of that data, we are ending the recent additional restrictions around who can participate in or attend indoor school sporting events.” Lee said.
When CHS athletic director Mr. Lambert was asked about these changes, he provided this information: There remain several restrictions in home athletic events. Central athletic events have limited seating at 1/3 of capacity. When people enter, they have to wear a mask and get their temperature taken. If the same people ride in a car together like a family or if they live together and come to the game then they can sit close to each other. Mr. Lambert says they conduct ticket sales online, which helps because when people arrive, it is a quicker transaction for the ticket keeper to see the ticket from their phone and get their temperature checked to be on their way.
“Due to Covid restrictions, KCS student athletes could not practice or play a game of basketball for the entire month of December,” Mr. Lambert explained. “In January, [the boys basketball] team missed an additional 10 days…and at the end of the season they had to play 7 games in 10 days and the district games are what determine the seeding in the tournament.”
From all of the restrictions going on the players have been having mixed feelings about sports. One of the girl basketball players explained, “ it was weird not being able to have the student section in games…and the gym feels weird with no one cheering you on…lots of their family and friends couldn’t come so it was kind of boring a little.” Another player from the girls basketball team name explained, “since they have went red twice the season has been shorter and because of Covid the team hasn’t been able to go places with each other…and they feel that restrictions are going a little too far since they haven’t really been able to do things.”