CHARLOTTE – On Thursday night, January 14, during an emergency school board meeting, CMS made a decision to temporarily close down all sports activities in Mecklenburg County until, Monday, February 15, 2021.
The decision is based on safety first; however, it is in line with the district’s decision to keep students in remote learning through February 12 due to the rising COVID-19 cases in the region.
Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris put out guidance that is not mandatory, but asking schools and businesses to shift all operations to remote platforms unless-in-person activity is necessary. This directive is in effect through February 2.
The decision certainly will impact winter sports programs that have already begun competition. There will be few exceptions for teams to continue to practice or compete in any games.
The current athletic activities that will feel the effects of the decision include:
- Volleyball and cross-country teams who are now in their playoffs are allowed to continue to compete. However, the teams cannot practice on or off-campus according to the district.
- High School basketball teams, many of which have played 3 games since the season began in early January, will not practice or compete for an entire month.
- Soccer and lacrosse teams began practice on January 11 and were scheduled to begin playing games on January 25. It will severely impact their regular season schedule, which ends on March 12, prior to the playoffs
- Swim teams who began their season last month will be affected by the pause which will end the competition.
- High School Football was scheduled to start playing games during the first week of February; it’s now postponed until the week of February 15.
The decision impacts local area high schools including Independence, Rocky River, and Butler. Also, Queen’s Grant made a decision to pause all games until February 2. Charlotte Latin, Charlotte Country Day, Providence Day, and other area private schools will be taking a 10-day pause.
All the area Athletic Directors are taking the pandemic and safety precautions seriously. They have followed all the guidelines established and have the proper protocols in place. Their first priority remains the health and safety of all student-athletes.
“Being part of athletics means we are used to adversity, so this feeling of overcoming an obstacle is not new to students, coaches, AD’s, etc,” said Steve Robinson, Athletic Director at Rocky River High School. “We have been fighting all year for our teams to have a season, and we will continue to advocate for our students. Being able to play sports has been a bright spot during a very challenging time, and there are 19 high schools in the district who are fighting to make sure this one piece of the high school experience is still here for kids.”