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Superintendent: Erlanger Schools Won't Play High-Contact Sports Until Safe

Erlanger-Elsmere Independent Schools Superintendent Chad Molley said this week that students in the district will not compete or practice in high-contact sports this fall "until we can do so responsibly and safely."

In a letter dated Tuesday, Molley expressed disappointment in the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) board of control's decision on August 20 for fall sports practice to begin on August 24 and for games to start on September 7. Molley argued, citing part of the following paragraph, that KHSAA had violated its own guidance issued earlier in the summer.

From the KHSAA guidance: According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus that causes COVID19 is thought to spread primarily from person-to-person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, and may also be produced when yelling, cheering, singing and spitting. However, new data is available daily and the best scientific minds in the country and the world are working on solving the problem. It is thought by our medical advisors that these droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about six feet) for the times specified by the CDC. Risk mitigation strategies should be aimed at reducing the likelihood of a person being exposed to respiratory droplets coming from another person. Every school is different, and every athletic activity is different. Certain mitigation strategies may be feasible in one school or for one activity, but not another.

The superintendent wrote that the approach to restarting fall sports was not "innovative" and "did not consider the health and safety of our student-athletes..."

Molley argued that his first priority is to return students "to some form of in-person instruction as soon as safely and logically possible."

"I will not place student involvement in extracurricular activities that do not meet the recommendations and best practices of COVID-19 mitigation ahead of that goal," Molley wrote.

The superintendent stated that he would continue to allow fall sports teams to have "sessions" in alignment with state guidance. He said that the district is working on a calendar for middle school fall athletes.

The full letter can be read here.

KHSAA guidelines can be read here.

The Kentucky Board of Education has asked KHSAA for “additional guidance in certain areas,” but did not ask KHSAA to change the dates for starting sports, said KDE General Counsel Todd Allen.

-Staff report

Photo: Lloyd Memorial takes on Newport Central Catholic in a 2015 football game (Brian Frey/RCN file)

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