With only a week left in most fall sports, JCPS has decided to allow high school students to compete in postseason games even as Kentucky faces “uncontrolled spread” of COVID-19.
JCPS will allow sports that fall under the Kentucky High school Sports Athletic Association jurisdiction to play scheduled games this Friday night and weekend including cross country, field hockey, golf, soccer and volleyball, according to a press release.
Regular season football games are cancelled after this weekend, but practice for both football and basketball will be allowed to continue for at least the next week, according to the release. State guidance advises district leaders to review the data and make decisions on a week-to-week basis.
JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio said he and his team held painstaking discussions that walk through “every scenario,” however he also said they did not discuss cancelling the last week of sports.
“We felt we could do this responsibly and allow kids to finish up with one week to go,” Pollio said.
District officials plan to reschedule regular season contests when possible. If transmission rates remain where they are now, the district would allow postseason football games to continue, Pollio said.
Louisville’s had more cases of COVID-19 than the rest of the state, and maintains a higher rate of infection than the state as a whole at 28.9 per 100,000 as of Friday.
Pollio appeared to cast doubt on the metrics detailing the risk of transmission during a press conference Friday.
“Well, there’s a lot of disagreement out there. There’s a lot of disagreement about whether that indicator is the right indicator or not. That’s the indicator we’ve been given,” he said.
Since the start of October, 217 student athletes across 13 different sports teams have quarantined due to positive cases of COVID-19 — a 51% increase from September when 144 student athletes quarantined across nine teams, said Louisville Chief Health Strategist Sarah Moyer earlier this week.
Moyer said the majority of the cases came from volleyball, particularly indoor volleyball, but also attributed cases to football, dance and other sports.
Both Moyer and Pollio have expressed concern about what will happen with indoor winter sports.
“I’ve come to learn in this it’s nearly impossible to predict what’s going to happen this time next week,” Pollio said.” So, we want to support our kids but obviously I don’t know if it’s going to go back down or not.”
A third wave of infection is rippling across the state. Over the last week, Kentucky reported 25.5 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. White House recommendations consider any number over 25 uncontrolled spread.
Reporters Jess Clark and Stephanie Wolf contributed to this story.