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Jackson allows student athletes to resume practices

As of Tuesday, Aug. 4, Jackson County schools entered phase two for school athletics. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association laid out phase two guidelines for summer conditioning and workout activities in late July. The guidelines for phase two went into effect Aug. 3. 

According to Dr. Kevin Bailey, executive director of human resources for Jackson County Schools, a soccer player in the school district tested positive for COVID-19 a few weeks ago. Bailey said parents were notified promptly, and because students were working out in pods of 10, JCPS was able to send that pod home immediately and the virus did not spread. 

Previously in phase one, students could only do exercise and conditioning during workouts, outside, without any shared equipment. Now in phase two, students will be able to use balls and do small group practices. Students and coaches can also use athletic training rooms, with proper sanitation, during phase two. 

Jackson County currently has nine students participating in workouts at Blue Ridge Early College, and 207 students participating in workouts at Smoky Mountain High School. At the Jackson County School Board meeting Aug.4, Bailey said there were 20 high schools in Western North Carolina that had moved into phase two for athletics and recommended that Jackson County Schools do the same. 

There will be a school board meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 12, to discuss athletics further, until that date Jackson County Schools has moved into phase two for athletics. 

Asheville City Schools recently suspended workouts after four athletes tested positive for COIVD-19. Haywood County Schools moved into phase two for athletics on Monday, Aug. 3.

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