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Morgan football practice shuts down after positive COVID-19 tests

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    The Morgan County football team takes the field for a game during the 2019 season JUSTIN HUBBARD/Staff
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According to an email sent to parents of Morgan County High School football players Sunday afternoon, July 26, the MCHS football team will not hold any conditioning or practices this week. The shutdown comes after the team had multiple players test positive for COVID-19.

Bulldogs head coach Bill Malone sent an alert to parents of his players and let them know that, because of the positive cases, there will be no team gatherings until at least this coming Monday, Aug. 3.

“Due to the number of exposures it is in our best interest to suspend practice for the next five days,” Malone wrote in the email. “We will not lift, condition, or practice until we believe the situation can be better controlled by our coaches. Hopefully we will return to workouts Aug. 3.”

Screenshots of the email began circulating on social media Sunday night. This marked the first set of publicized positive COVID-19 tests among Lake Country’s football teams.

On Monday, Putnam County High School also announced it had ceased football operations due to positive COVID-19 tests. Click here for more information on the situation in Putnam County. 

Malone noted that the positive results came from two subgroups that the players were split into for practicing. Malone did not specify how many positive results were in each subgroup, but he did say that players who might have been exposed to the virus were directly contacted before the mass email.

On Monday, the Morgan County Charter School System released the following statement with more details about the football team’s positive tests:

“Last week, the Morgan County Football team had three confirmed positive cases of COVID-19. Additionally, we identified six other players who may have had close contact/ exposure through football activities. As we do regularly, we communicated with the Georgia Department of Public Health and have followed all guidance related to contract tracing and exposure.

Out of an abundance of caution, we elected to suspend practice for one week. The one-week suspension of football activities allows our staff additional time to monitor the situation in an effort to decrease exposure to other student-athletes and staff involved with our football program. Furthermore, this decision allows our coaches time to focus on the start of a new school year. We intend to resume with football workouts on Monday, August 3rd.

Ultimately, we hold the health and safety of our students, staff, and community members as the highest priority. We will continue to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as we make plans for the coming school year.”

The Bulldogs’ shutdown started on the first day that the Georgia High School Association allowed its football teams to fully practice. GHSA officials had teams under heavy restrictions the last several weeks in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Monday was the first time teams were allowed to engage in normal practices.

The GHSA season was recently delayed two weeks. The earliest GHSA-sanctioned games will be played Sept. 4.

Morgan’s updated schedule following the delay pushed its season opener against Putnam County back to Sept. 11.