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Saturday July 11th, 2020 8:50PM

Systems in place in event of positive COVID-19 test

By Bo Wilson Sports Editor

Questions continue to pop up as student-athletes are allowed to return to conditioning with restrictions on campus next week. The biggest question: what happens when an athlete or coach tests positive for COVID-19?

Hall County School District's Director of Communications and Athletics Stan Lewis says the district will follow the guidance from the Georgia High School Association, local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control.

"If at any time an athlete, coach or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, all other members of that workout group will be notified and will not be allowed to return until they provide two consecutive negative COVID-19 test results 24 hours apart and must quarantine for a 14-day period and become symptom-free."

The district is doing everything by the book, according to Lewis. He said they will take every precaution necessary to keep the athletes safe.
 
"Every facility used for these training sessions will be cleaned during and between conditioning sessions and at the end of the day with a product that kills COVID-19," he said. "That being said, if we are notified of a positive case, and that individual was inside one of our facilities, we will wait 24 hours before sending our crew in to clean."
 
But what is the next phase? Most school systems are using a phase-in process. Gainesville City Schools will begin outside, then shift into what they're calling Phase 2.

Although there's no real picture of what it will look like, Lewis said the district has a similar plan.

"We feel like if we implement Phase 1 with fidelity AND the health situation in our community continues to improve, we can move relatively soon into Phase 2, which might possibly involve an increase in the number of participants (GHSA determined) and more indoor activity," Lewis said. "Certainly getting into the weight room would be a part of Phase 2, and we have a group working on what that will look like.
 
In my opinion, Phase 3 will depend a great deal on what GHSA will allow and on any updates/amendments to guidelines provided by health officials. As you well know, that guidance is evolving weekly as we learn more about the virus."
 
Lewis also reiterated the priorities of the school district are built on safety.

"Our No. 1 priority is to keep our kids, their families, our staff members and their families, safe," he said. "Priority No. 2 is to allow our student-athletes an opportunity to get some exercise and reconnect with people who make a difference in their lives -- their coaches and teammates. Those relationships are important to the development of their physical and emotional well-being."

Jeff Hart contributed to this story.

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