Shelby County Schools implementing COVID guidelines as fall sports return

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With the return of fall sports, Shelby County Schools leaders are sharing how they plan to keep students and fans safe this season.

The Friday night lights will shine once again in Shelby County, but COVID-19 protocols will also be in full effect. Students will have to social distance whenever possible and wear masks when indoors.

“Also making sure students are not using communal items like towels, water bottles, things like that,” said Dr. Roderick Richmond with SCS Student Support Systems.

Shelby County leaders say they’ve spent months meeting with players and coaches about ways to safely resume sports this fall. With the rise of the delta variant, especially among children, doctors expect to better understand the true impact over the next few weeks.

“We really don’t know yet exactly what the transmission will be in a crowded outdoor stadium for an example,” said infectious disease specialist Dr. Stephen Threlkeld. “It’s going to better if there’s some distancing but very much safer if you’re in an outdoor situation.”

“There’s going to be signage, there’s going to be markers,” said athletics director India Weaver. “Even though we’re outdoors, we’re still going to encourage masks to happen out here.”

SCS officials know that as this virus changes, plans may need to as well.

“I think it’s very important for us to remain flexible and communicate not only with our schools, students, parents, and community. We’re committed to doing that,” Weaver said.

SCS leaders say concessions will still be limited to prepackaged items. There will also be an online ticket option this year for football games as well.

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