MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After more than half a year away from the field, high school sports officially returned Friday night. There were five games played across the Mid-South, and all of them had their own quirks and restrictions.
The group overseeing Tennessee high school athletics, TSSAA, requires spectators pass a series of tests before being allowed into venues.
Anyone that has experienced COVID symptoms within seven days or has a temperature above 100.4 isn’t allowed in, and spectators are required to stand at least six feet apart. Even the players are forced to operate with COVID in mind.
Some schools, like Houston, allowed small, socially distant crowds. Arlington didn’t allow any spectators.
Despite the responsibility that schools have been given regarding athletics safety, not every Mid-South district has acted with transparency. Collierville High School did not allow any media members on their property, despite hosting a sold-out crowd of 650 people.
Covington High School also did not allow media access.
While the Shelby County Health Department has deemed fall sports unsafe, they’ve also agreed to work with schools that are pushing forward.
A true week one victory would be zero COVID transmission after the first high school sports in more than half a year.
There will be even more games played next week. We’ve reached out to Shelby County Schools – the largest district in the state – about how they’ll handle sports attendance. They did not provide an answer and said they will reconvene after Labor Day.