By D. Mark Mitchell
Alabama State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey held a press conference Friday afternoon to announce his plan, ‘Roadmap to Reopening Alabama Schools’.
Dr Mackey (ALSDE), along with ADPH Director Dr. Scott Harris, went through the plan for Alabama public schools to reopen.
The two agencies developed the plan as a guidance document for the upcoming school year. The plan meets health and safety challenges schools are facing concerning COVID-19.
The announcement was essential for Alabama children who attend public schools. However, the Alabama High School Athletic Association Executive Director Steve Savarese watched and listened intently.
If Alabama public schools are open, athletics remain a possibility for all teams.
The AHSAA released a statement Friday afternoon regarding the reopening plans. “We appreciate Dr. Mackey and his staff for their tireless efforts. I am looking forward to working with school administrators and with the AHSAA football and fall sports committees which meet July 7 in addition to the Alabama FCA (Football Coaches Association) on July 8 to discuss the ALSDE roadmap and ADPH guidelines,” Savarese said. “The AHSAA will continue to study and produce “best practices” (in conjunction with the AHSAA Central Board, Medical Advisory Board, ALSDE and ADPH) and will present the recommendations to the central board at its July 22 meeting.”
The AHSAA is looking forward to hosting the Kickoff Classic at Crampton Bowl, which kicks off the 2020 football season on Aug. 20 and 21.
The news from Mackey last Friday was good news for the AHSAA.
This is a positive step towards seeing high school sports in Alabama.
Savarese has maintained a positive yet calm attitude throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The AHSAA has several key meetings in July. The final decision will be made July 22 by the Central Board of Control.
Based on information I have learned, Opelika should have no issues opening the season in Georgia against Callaway High School. It appears neither state will enforce a no-travel ban for out-of-state games.
The OHS football team completed the first phase of opening football in Alabama. The Dawgs will be off for the July 4 break. Members of the team will return July 6 for phase two.
So far, no Opelika coach or player has tested positive for COVID-19.
Lanett football head coach Clifford Story tested positive for COVID-19 several weeks ago. Story followed the proper protocol and stayed isolated from others for over 14 days.
The Beulah Bobcats postponed workouts for two weeks after an employee tested positive.
Lanett and Beulah returned to activities with neither school having others test positive.
We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you posted.
D. Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State Director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.