NORTH CAROLINA, USA — The high school football season opener between Southern Alamance High School and Graham High School will not happen this Friday as previously scheduled. A spokesperson for the Alamance-Burlington School System said the game has been postponed because of suspected COVID-19 cases.
This decision stems directly from health and safety guidance from both the North Carolina High School Athletic Association and the local health department. At this time, the game hasn't been rescheduled and WFMY News 2 doesn't know how many players or coaches may have tested positive.
NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker said there are a couple of other teams across the state dealing with similar issues - and a need to quarantine - after suspected cases.
"I don't think we have a county that is immune to COVID-19 at this stage of the game," she said. "We knew that it was really inevitable - that it would hit us as we start these fall sports."
"Am I surprised? Well, I don't know that I am surprised that we have teams that are in quarantine, because we knew, towards the latter part of July, that this was starting to rage. That the numbers were increasing. So, it was really just a matter of time," Tucker continued.
She said the plan for high school sports moving into the fall season will continue to be mitigation, through best practices and recommendations. At this time, there are no mandates, but she wouldn't be surprised if stricter rules could follow if the virus continues to spread at the current pace.
"We could find ourselves back where we were this time last year or at least when we started playing sports back last November - with the mask-wearing mandate even when you're participating," Tucker said.
Currently, much of the decision-making - on testing unvaccinated student-athletes for example - is left up to each district. Find out more by clicking here.