County 'strongly recommends' caution on winter sports

By The Examiner staff

As high school practices for winter sports begin this week, the Jackson County Health Department cites the ongoing heightened level of COVID-19 community transmission and says it “strongly recommends” that school districts not conduct indoor sports or activities where mitigation efforts, such as wearing face masks, might be not possible.

With sports and activities including basketball, wrestling, choir, band and theater, measures such as masking and social distancing can be more difficult, especially if spectators are allowed, the Health Department says in guidance released this week

Ultimately, the Health Department says, school districts make their own decisions.

If schools decide against the recommendation, the Health Department says several there are several precautions they should take, including:

• Face masks.

• Not allowing spectators or limiting attendance to immediate family members.

• Cohorting teams.

• Testing to quickly identify infections.

• Monitoring symptoms.

The recommendation is similar to one recently issued by the Johnson County, Kansas, Health Department, and it comes at a time of rising case numbers, continual double-digit positive test percentages and high community spread in the area.

The Health Department says that among the transmission risk factors that should be considered with indoor sports and activities are proximity for social distancing, length of time in close proximity and adequate ventilation and air movement.