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Coaches frustrated as JCPS looks to possibly suspend athletics

JCPS superintendent says they'll take a closer look at athletics during a meeting on Thursday evening.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — JCPS high school athletic teams could see their seasons paused, as the district decides this week if sports should be cancelled starting Monday. 

Jefferson County Public Schools superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio expressed concerns about athletics Monday as COVID cases continue to escalate in Jefferson County and statewide in Kentucky.

"The trend here with this and across America is not looking positive right now and athletics is a concern," Dr. Pollio said.

JCPS could make a decision this week about athletics for next week. According to Dr. Pollio, as guided by the state they meet every week to review COVID-19 data and color-coding to make decisions for the week ahead.

According to Kentucky's COVId-19 website, Jefferson County hit the red phase over the weekend reporting 27.4 new daily coronavirus infections per 100,000 residents based on a seven-day average. The state deems it to be a "critical" level. 

“It's a decision I would make. I say it's a decision I would make, but I’m following guidance from the state," Dr. Pollio said. The state document is very clear that when you are in red, suspend athletics. Some people will say to me other districts don’t do that, I’m here for Jefferson County Public Schools."

"We've known this is a possibility for a while. Doesn't mean that it's any less disheartening. It's pretty upsetting," Joshua Abell, head football coach for Fern Creek High School, said. 

"What happens in the general community, there's nothing we can do about that and I'm not sure how that impacts the football," Male High School head football coach, Chris Wolfe, said.

Both coaches said it is frustrating to hear play could be stopped, with three weeks to go in the regular season before playoffs begin.

"We feel like we've done everything right. So we'd like to continue to play," Abell said. "That's the most unfortunate part is that they've been doing what we ask them to do and they still might not be able to play games after this week." 

Dr. Pollio said the district will decide what to do by 8 p.m. Thursday evening. 

"I have to follow the guidance of the health experts at the state and the federal level," Dr. Pollio said. "So instead of going by other gut feelings or opinions, we're going to follow the guidance of the experts."

"We use no locker room, we have no inside meetings for film, we have no inside use for weight rooms, we don't ride on busses, we are never in a confined area," Wolfe said. "I thought we had proven this can be done. We can mitigate it."

Games scheduled this week wouldn't be affected, with cancellations starting Monday of next week if the district decides to push pause.

On October 15 the district made the decision to extend NTI. JCPS has not announced the new date. 

RELATED: JCPS to host virtual open house sessions at schools

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