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Tomahawk Talk: Athletic facilities could open on June 1

JCHS Harold Arnold Football Field will be open for practices June 1. Players and coaches will be allowed to conduct practices 10 persons at a time.  File Photo.

By Tim Chambers

Not much progress has been made in recent months concerning the COVID-19 virus and high school sports, but Monday’s meeting among athletic directors from Mountain City to Morristown could have changed the scenery. 

They proposed a plan to get kids back on the practice fields beginning June 1 with plenty of stipulations. The school facilities have been shut down since the middle of March because of the pandemic COVID-19 virus.  Johnson County athletic director Austin Atwood took time on the phone to explain how the proposal works. 

 “They would be like in groups of 10,” said Atwood. “Football, for example, could have nine players out on the field for workouts with one coach there to supervise. It would be the same for the weight room, but only ten people could be involved at the time, nine players and one coach.”

Basically, you have nine players and one coach in every group with social distancing being practiced.”

The presentation was led by current Science Hill athletic director and former Elizabethton Cyclone and Tennessee Tech basketball standout Keith Turner who called it an important step. 

“The first step is critical,” Turner said. He also indicated that people across the state are looking at their plans.

The administrators will monitor things as the plan is evaluated each Wednesday. Atwood will meet with all the Johnson County high school coaches on Wednesday to discuss the plan.

Practice will likely begin with only nine athletes per coach starting June 1.  Equipment managers will have a much more challenging job now than in past years.    No student-athlete or coach will be put at risk. Any student or coach with a temperature of 100 or greater will be sent home immediately. They couldn’t return either unless they are three days without running a fever.