NCSS Suspends Extra-Curricular Activities

NCSS Suspends Athletics & Extra-Curricular Activities
Posted on 08/14/2020
Athletics SuspendedThe effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and safety of our students and staff have been in the forefront of our thoughts as we plan for instruction and other school system activities. District and school leaders examine the trends of community transmission in Newton County, state-wide and nationally. Newton County has experienced a very high rate of community transmission as reported by agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Georgia Department of Public Health, and various other institutions who provide statistical analysis that is publicly available.

The Newton County School System (NCSS) formed a COVID-19 response team to review and communicate guidance to our employees and students participating in extracurricular activities. The Georgia High School Association (GHSA), of which all three high schools in the Newton County School System are members, released guidance for return to sports conditioning beginning in June. As the summer continued, the GHSA’s guidance phased in more activities and increased the number of participants allowed in each group. The association’s guidance included suggestions for social distancing and masking when possible. NCSS schools received updates on GHSA’s guidance on a weekly basis and followed the guidance at every step. District and school leadership closely monitored activities and communicated on an almost daily basis regarding the activities in which students were participating in. Even though guidelines were in place, NCSS extracurricular activities were affected by COVID 19 exposure. Each high school experienced cases of screening out athletes due to possible contact and/or symptoms. Three groups of student athletes experienced short-term suspension of activities due to possible exposure to COVID 19.

Taking into account the high rate of community transmission, as well as the exposure tracing among staff and student participants, Newton County School System leaders, along with other school systems in the state and around the country, have made decisions that are unprecedented but driven by attempts to keep our students and staff safe. On August 7th, the decision was made to postpone in-person instruction as an option in favor of a 100% virtual instructional model for all NCSS students. In keeping with the same objective, NCSS leadership has determined that the risk of transmission supersedes our desire to continue extracurricular activities at this time. As a result, all Newton County School System extracurricular activities are suspended effective Monday, August 17, 2020. District and school leadership will continue to monitor all indicators and will consider re-starting activities when those indicators are favorable.