SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — With COVID-19 cases once again on the rise, Savannah Chatham County Public Schools are putting new travel restrictions in place for all Winter and Spring sports teams, effective immediately.
“Right now, we’re not allowing any travel that’s outside of the region for region play. That’s pretty much where we are. So, tournaments for example are not necessarily region play. If they aren’t directly tied to the state or region tournament, then we’re not allowing that travel,” said Bernadette Ball-Oliver, Associate Superintendent of Secondary Schools at SCCPSS.
This decision comes as the district is fighting to keep classes in-person for all area schools.
“We look at our community transmission index which at the time that we looked at it was 3,080. It’s well over that now, even though we might of saw a slight decline it’s still well over what it was when we first viewed it. As well as, we’ve had to quarantine during the time of this, over 7300 students and 450 personnel,” Ball-Oliver explained.
According to the school district, so far cancellations have been minimal, but some parents aren’t happy with the timing of the decision – coming just days before the Spring sports season is set to kick off.
“My son called me right away, he’s a senior this year, and they were really really hoping this year was fully open, ready to go. You know they’re having to jump through hoops of fire, the mandatory testing every week…and if you don’t go and test, don’t come to practice, don’t come to games,” said local parent Tiffany Hughes.
Even though all athletes regardless of vaccination status must test once a week to be eligible to play, the district says the temporary travel restriction comes as a precautionary measure.
One they hope won’t be in place for any longer than it has to be.
Bernadette Ball-Oliver: “As it trends downward you know, we’ll review and make the adjustments just as we did with this. Remember, our first commitment is to in-person learning and so, we look at the data and we look at what goes into putting those protocols and processes in place that’s gonna assure we’re not having disruptions to learning in-person,” said Ball-Oliver.
The Savannah Chatham County Public School System says they will review the data after a 10-day period, and make any further scheduling decisions from there.