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Social Circle football practices suspended over COVID-19
Social Circle Football Helmet
Brett Fowler | The Tribune

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga.— Football practice will start a week later in Social Circle after officials shut down practice this week due to a positive COVID-19 case.

Head coach Rob Patton confirmed there had indeed been a positive case late Tuesday afternoon, but did not disclose if it was a player or a coach.

“While our teams have been following GHSA (Georgia High School Association) safety guidelines, we currently have several individuals who are quarantined due to a confirmed exposure to COVID-19,” Social Circle City Schools Assistant Superintendent Carrie Booher said in a statement. “We encourage all visitors, students, and staff to wear masks, practice social distancing, and use hand sanitizers.”

The case at Social Circle is the third involving a football team in nearby Walton County. George Walton Academy, in Monroe, suspended practice last week after a player tested positive. The Bulldogs are set to resume practice next week.

Walnut Grove had a coach test positive the last week of June prior to the Georgia High School Association’s mandated “dead week,” resulting in just one practice being canceled while the coach was in quarantine.

The GHSA has allowed on-campus workouts since June with numerous precautions.

Last week, the GHSA board of trustees voted unanimously to delay the first week of the high school football season by two weeks, to Sept. 4. The season will remain with 10 games over 12 weeks, with a five-round playoff.

Mandatory football practices were allowed to begin Monday, as previously scheduled. The schedule for other fall sports is unchanged, with the first official practices beginning this weekend.

Some school districts like Atlanta Public Schools might have ditched fall sports entirely without a two-week delay for football, GHSA trustee Jasper Jewell said.

Professional and amateur sports — including high school teams — were given the green light by Gov. Brian Kemp last month to resume training and competitions so long as they followed self-imposed distancing and cleanliness rules.