Harding Academy confirms 12 COVID-19 cases, suspends athletics


School suspends athletics, moves high school students to virtual learning

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Harding Academy confirmed Monday it is experiencing multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19 among athletic teams in its high school.

Harding Head of School Trent Williamson said all athletics have been suspended and students in grades 9-12 have been transitioned to virtual learning for the next two weeks.

Lower grades were open for in-person instruction, though parents in lower and middle school could choose virtual instruction.

Tuesday, Williamson confirmed that 12 students and faculty were confirmed positive for COVID-19: Nine volleyball team members, one soccer, one football and one faculty member.

“We are working closely with the Shelby County Health Department to ensure we are following all protocols to protect the health and safety of our students and faculty,” Williams said in a statement.

As Harding is working closely with the Shelby County Health Department, officials there have openly resisted the idea of fall sports returning this year. Dr. Bruce Randolph reiterated that they do not think it is a good idea for sports to be played this coming season.

“There is a high risk of transmission of the virus associated with closeness,” Randolph said. “We at the moment do not feel that contact sports are safe.”

The school website states, the Lions play their first varsity volleyball match in exactly two weeks and play their first football game in 18 days. At the same time, the school has not announced canceling or rescheduling games.

The East Memphis private school returned to instruction Aug. 10., according to Harding Academy’s web site.

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