High school football practice should be delayed. 

Defensive tackles, cornerbacks, running backs, wide receivers, offensive linemen all have families. 

They have parents, grandparents and perhaps great-grandparents. 

They practice.

Then, they go home. 

What do they take home, or to grandma’s house, with them? 

We hope it is not COVID-19. 

The Georgia High School Football Association should not be making public health decisions. 

This past week, the GHSA board of trustees delayed the start of the football season by two weeks, but said the decision does not affect the start of workouts or the first date of practice. 

While scrimmages and games are pushed back two weeks, workouts and practices remain the same. 

Irresponsible. 

GHSA is largely a volunteer organization made up of good people who have little to no expertise in public health. 

The association has too much say in what our young people do. 

If it is not safe for students to be in the classroom, it is not safe for players to be in the workout room and on the field. 

In fact, the likelihood of spread is greater in the environment where players find themselves, with close contact, perspiration and a lot of yelling. 

The Valdosta Board of Education has been responsible in moving the start of the academic school year to Sept. 8. 

The Lowndes County Board of Education has at least moved the start of school to Aug. 14, a bit later but not late enough given the local surge of cases and hospitalizations and the increase in deaths. 

It makes absolutely no sense that as much as 20% of the school systems’ student population who participate in sports and sports-related activities are being required to resume close person-to-person contact where social distancing and protective face-coverings are neither required nor possible. 

If you only want to look at this as football and not as a public health issue, then how will your favorite team’s season go if the starting quarterback or the entire “O” line tests positive and must quarantine?

GHSA, the state school board, the local boards of education and the governor of Georgia — by not having a statewide plan in place — are all putting these young people, their parents, grandparents, family and friends at risk, simply because of the love of the game, or perhaps the revenue that comes from it. 

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