LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The state’s largest school district announced it would not follow the Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s guidance to start winter sports practices Monday.
Jefferson County Public Schools sent a letter to the parents of the nearly 100,000 students in the district Friday announcing the decision.
The KHSAA announced Thursday that winter sports practices could resume Monday, and games could begin on Jan. 4. But JCPS said in its letter that “the number of local COVID-19 cases remains high” across the district.
“You see, where we are in terms of community spread right now,” Murphy said, “I think we definitely want to see a decrease and see a downward trend. So, we want to evaluate all of that, see where we are after the next few weeks, and the first of the year, and make some determinations.”
JCPS said there will not be any practices for winter sports -- boys’ and girls’ basketball, wrestling, swimming and competitve cheer and dance -- for three weeks, and gave no timetable except to say board members will discuss and provide their next update after the new year.
“We understand how important athletics is for students,” Murphy said. “We understand the power of sports for kids. We can’t wait for the day when we can all be back in person, our athletes can be playing together and we can be back in our school buildings having in person instructions, but we know we have to do it safely and we’ll make sure that we do.”
Murphy added she expects additional guidance on the subject will be released by Governor Andy Beshear, (D) Kentucky, soon.
The JCPS letter is below:
December 11, 2020
Dear JCPS Family,
Yesterday, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association board of directors voted to allow school districts to begin practices for winter sports - basketball, swimming, wrestling, and competitive cheer and dance - next week and to begin competition on January 4th. While we would like to see our student-athletes with their teammates and returning to competition as soon as possible, the number of local COVID-19 cases remains high.
Jefferson County is still in the “red” category due to the number of COVID-19 cases in our area (at least 25 cases per 100,000 people). Currently, Jefferson County has approximately 60 cases per 100,000 people.
Due to this level of community spread and the fact that these activities are held indoors, we have determined JCPS winter sports teams will not begin practicing on Monday. There will not be any conditioning over the next three weeks. We will have discussions with our board members, review the data, and update you after January 1st, on a possible return to practice and a start to competition.
The health and safety of everyone within our JCPS community - students, staff, and their families - is, and will continue to be our top priority. We understand the value athletics adds to your child’s life. But we want to make sure we conduct our winter sports season safely and in the best interests of everyone within our JCPS community.
Jefferson County Public Schools
This story is being updated.