It appears athletics will coming back to Rockdale County this fall.
Rockdale County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts announced Wednesday that the school system intends to ramp up high school athletics over the next several weeks. Oatts stated that softball, volleyball and cross county are permitted to begin the week of Sept. 28, followed by football teams starting competition the week of Oct. 12.
Oatts announced that a decision was reached after "careful consultation and deliberation."
"For the last several months, we have continued to monitor our local, regional and statewide public health data to inform our decisions regarding fall sports competition," Oatts stated in a press release. "In May, I impaneled a Fall Sports Working Group for the purpose of thoroughly reviewing all aspects of the viability of proceeding with fall sports conditioning and active competition during fall semester. This working group has since expanded its focus to include a comprehensive review of all our district’s athletic programs for the 2020-21 school year. As superintendent, I required that each of our fall and spring sports develops detailed safety plans for both conditioning and active competition for review by our working team and our regional health department."
Rockdale County previously announced it would be suspending athletics until the second semester of the 2020-2021 school year. That timeline was consistent with when the school system is scheduled to resume in-person learning. However, Oatts argued that "there are significant differences of scale in planning for a reasonably safe fall sports season for a much smaller segment of student-athletes utilizing the full scope of athletic fields and facilities versus reintegrating thousands of students back to in-person instruction."
"Other significant differences include the duration of students’ engagement with teachers/staff for protracted segments of instruction inside classrooms versus athletic conditioning, practice and competition that is disproportionately conducted outdoors due to the nature of most of our fall sports," he added.
Additionally information regarding the logistics and safety measures will be made available in the coming weeks at www.rockdaleschools.org/reopening.