Pierce County Bears football is still on — for now — but with a two week delay in the season’s kick-off.
High school football across the state of Georgia will start two weeks later than usual due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a vote Monday by the Georgia High School Association (GHSA).
Pierce County High School will kick-off the season with a game against Liberty County in Hinesville Friday, Sept. 4. The game was originally scheduled for Friday, Aug. 21.
The season will still have 10 games and a five-round playoff.
Scheduling for pre-season conditioning remained unchanged and can start July 27. No other fall sports were delayed by the GHSA vote on Monday.
Schedules for scrimmages with Brunswick High Friday, Aug. 7, and Dodge County Friday, Aug. 14, have not been determined.
Several rules are in place for high school football teams including prohibiting use of locker rooms, sanitizing helmets before and after workouts, drinking only from personal water bottles and reporting positive COVID-19 test results to the GHSA.
Parents, local school officials and public health experts in Georgia have roundly warned of safety risks involved in resuming classes for the 2020-21 school year without measures in place like options to start with online instructions, social distancing for in-person classes and the importance of face masks.
The state Department of Education has issued guidelines and recommendations aimed at helping local school districts decide how to hold classes in the fall via a mix of regular in-person classes and online instruction options.
Classes switched to all-online instructions in March to close out the 2019-20 school year as the COVID-19 outbreak in Georgia took hold.
Professional and amateur sports – including high school teams – were given the green light by Gov. Brian Kemp last month to resume training and competitions so long as they followed self-imposed distancing and cleanliness rules.
Kemp has suggested he could move to shut down sports in the fall if enough Georgians do not voluntarily wear masks in public. He has so far, however, stopped short of mandating masks in the state.
(Beau Evans of the Capitol Beat News Service contributed to this report.)