TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress and the TSSAA state office staff are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on interscholastic athletics in Tennessee.
Due to the ongoing social distancing efforts, the Board of Control’s three-day meeting originally scheduled for June in Murfreesboro has been canceled. The Board will take into consideration the items from the June agenda at the August meeting. The first day of the June meeting was to be set aside for a classification study session. Instead of a face-to-face meeting, each Board member will be sent the plans they requested to review with the goal of holding the classification study session in late July.
“The classification process is very important to our member schools and with so many different variables and plans to discuss, I believe this is a meeting that should take place in-person if at all possible,” said Bernard Childress, Executive Director. “The plans under consideration by the Board and the decisions they’ll be making on classification will not go into effect until August 2021, which does allow us some leeway on the timeline considering the circumstances.”
In regards to the TSSAA/TMSAA Sports Calendar and what school-related activities are permitted during the months of May, June, and July, all member school athletic programs will need to follow the TSSAA/TMSAA Sports Calendar as written.
TSSAA is recommending that member schools follow the state and local government along with the CDC and local Health Department guidelines concerning social distancing, understanding that these guidelines will continue to change from county to county and as the summer progresses.
“It is totally the decision of local Boards of Education, Directors of Schools, and/or Heads of School as to how much they are going to allow coaches to do face-to-face activities with their students,” added Childress.
“No one knows when school or non-school teams will be allowed to compete against one another,” he continued, “but in terms of practice, coaches should already be familiar with the Council’s calendar for their sport and are free to conduct practice sessions within the framework of those rules and the social distancing guidelines of health professionals and their LEA.”
Schools have also been advised that summer begins when the school and/or school system was originally scheduled to be dismissed. Up until that point, all sports are in the off-season. In following the TSSAA/TMSAA Sports Calendar, it should be noted that coaches may conduct “online” practice sessions as long as they are following the guidelines which are specific to their sport. As usual, weight lifting and conditioning, even if conducted “online,” must be open to all students and not required of any of them to participate.
The “Dead Period,” a two-week period in the summer where coaches are not permitted to be in contact with players, will remain in place.