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More guidance coming for Kentucky high school sports

The Kentucky High School Athletics Association is expected to release a "Healthy at Sports" document next week.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky High School Athletics Association may have given the green light to fall sports for Kentucky high schools, but there are still many questions to be answered before the official start of the season.

"As a former coach and athletic director, I understand the importance of athletics," JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said. "I know that. Kids participating, we know what that does for health, camaraderie with peers."

But just like academics, Pollio said he understands sports will have to look very different as well during the coronavirus pandemic.

"I think we're going to have to see a lot moving forward," Pollio said. "I think college athletics are even in question at this point."

JCPS Director of Athletics and Activities Jerry Wyman, who also serves on the KHSAA board, said KHSAA is expected to release a "Healthy at Sports" document next week.

"This is a real pandemic. That's what I would say," Wyman said. "I would hope people would know."

The KHSAA approved the schedule for fall sports last week, which would see football, soccer, field hockey, volleyball and cross country beginning their official team practices on August 24. Football would have its first games beginning on September 11 and the other sports would start September 7.

Some policies have already been voted on, including limits on the number of players allowed to be in uniform or on the sidelines and the geographic locations of opponents.

But Wyman said he has not seen the "Healthy at Sports" document and does not know what will be included, like any guidelines when it comes to fans attending games and whether they will need to wear a mask if they are allowed to attend.

"I obviously think that's definitely best practice," Wyman said. "I would think anything we do indoors, that's what we would do, and potentially everything we do outdoors."

Pollio said other decisions concerning the safety of students will be made before any decisions on crowds. Conditioning for non-fall sports was suspended earlier this week after two JCPS student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19.

Ultimately, Wyman said a lot of the responsibility for the upcoming sports season will fall on the individual superintendents and athletics directors to promote safety among their students and staff.

"I think we can do whatever we need to do, whatever we feel like we need to do to keep our kids safe," Wyman said. "That's going to be, I think, a local decision."

The JCPS board is expected to discuss fall sports further at its next scheduled meeting on Aug. 18. The KHSAA board will meet on Aug. 20.

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