Fall sports have begun! In light of the first evening of football games around the county, there have been many questions surrounding how Cobb Schools will handle sporting events and COVID restrictions. We took some time to talk with Don Baker, Cobb’s Director of Athletics, about the topic.
Mr. Baker said that Cobb Schools will follow GHSA’s recommendations regarding the fall sports calendar. “It is our plan to continue to follow the Georgia High School Association calendar as more sports are able to return to play throughout the year,” he said. Although GHSA recommendations are for the state as a whole, they are a good gauge to inform Cobb decisions. Our local situation will always be the ultimate determining factor, but GHSA information is a good place to begin.
With fall sporting events starting up, the next question involves spectators. How many will be allowed and what is expected of them? “Currently we are allowing a max capacity of 30% of ticketed seats at our venues,” Mr. Baker answered. “All who attend events will be screened as they enter via screening questions as well as a contactless temperature check. Masks are required and seating will be arranged to socially distance those attending.”
“Ticketing will be 100% digital or pre-issued passes,” he said. “Families of players, cheerleaders, and band members will get priority with the remaining tickets being sold to general fans including students.”
“I have visited the schools as they were preparing,” he continued. “I have been very impressed by the efforts of our athletic directors. They are ensuring that all will be safe and enjoy the event by installing social-distanced seating markers, as well as ones to identify safe separation when standing in line to enter the venue or visit the concession stand or restrooms.”
Concession stands have the option to be open but must offer only pre-packaged items, no cooking is allowed.
Cheerleaders from both schools are welcome at Cobb games, but some away schools may not allow visiting cheerleaders. As far as bands, it will be the home team’s only. “Home bands will be in attendance and seated socially distanced in the end zone,” he said. “No visiting bands will be allowed.”
It has been a difficult and stressful time for all as the District has been working hard to make Fall sports a reality. ““I cannot say enough about our coaches, student-athletes, athletic directors, and principals,” Mr. Baker said appreciatively. “They have done an outstanding job working through the return-to-play protocols and have kept student safety at the forefront every day. As a result, we look forward to a successful Fall sports season including football kicking off this week.”
Although all of this is new and strange and difficult at times, Mr. Baker asked for everyone’s participation in the new protocols and restrictions. “It is my hope that our communities will buy into this just like our student-athletes, coaches, and school leaders have,” he said. “Then we can all continue to enjoy high school athletics and reap the benefits they provide not just to our kids but our total community.”