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Gov. Lee signs executive order, but some officials hit pause button

By: James Clark -- Editor for the Southern Standard

Gov. Bill Lee

Gov. Bill Lee has given his approval for high school football and girls soccer to return, but some districts are encouraging schools to hit the pause button. 

In signing Executive Order No. 55 on Friday, Gov. Lee said, “Athletics is an important part of our way of life and provides many benefits for our student-athletes, but common-sense precautions must be taken to combat COVID-19. We have worked directly with the TSSAA to coordinate a framework so that football season and soccer seasons can begin while keeping student-athletes, staff, and fans safe.”

The governor's action to allow contact sports to resume regular practice wasn’t embraced by Adrienne Battle, director of schools for Metro Nashville. 

Battle was one of four Nashville-area leaders who signed a letter to Metro school officials urging them not to allow sports to resume until at least September.

“On behalf of the Metropolitan Public Health Department and Nashville’s planning committee on how to safely reopen schools, we are asking that you commit your school to not holding any in-person interscholastic sports and extracurricular activities until at least after Labor Day,” the letter states, “and resume only if the key metrics for the roadmap to reopen Nashville are improved and stable and there have been no obvious increased transmission from these types of activities in other school districts.”

The letter added, “This commitment will minimize the contact of students across schools and minimize the spread of the virus among students, staff and spectators.”

The Knox County School System appears to be adopting a similar approach. According to WATE 6 in Knoxville, fall contact sports are on hold in Knox County after a meeting with school officials and the Knox County Health Department.

The Lady Pioneer girls soccer team is scheduled to play its first game Aug. 18 at home against Ooltewah. The Pioneer football team is scheduled to open its season Aug. 21 against DeKalb County in Smithville.

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