The FHSAA announced early Thursday afternoon that it would continue to monitor developments regarding the new coronavirus, COVID-19, but the status of regular season games will be left in the hands of the schools and school districts playing them.
"Schools and school districts should continue to follow state and local health department advisories regarding extracurricular activities and athletic contests," the release read.
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The Okaloosa County School District responded later Thursday in its own release that "After conferring with the Okaloosa County Department of Health ... all out-of-county and out-of-state field trips and sports trips effective immediately." Additionally, athletic teams and student groups scheduled to come to Okaloosa County were informed of the postponements.
NEW: Per @OCSD1, 'Okaloosa Schools will be postponing all out-of-county and out-of-state field trips and sports trips effective immediately.' pic.twitter.com/hYLRdeO9vP— Sam Grubenhoff (@SamGrubenhoff) March 12, 2020
For the time being in-county athletic competitions and field trips are permitted to continue as scheduled.
"We do not take this decision lightly," the release read. "The disappointment and inconvenience these cancellations will cause are obvious, but the safety and well-being of our students and employees is paramount."
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In a Q&A section below the FHSAA’s release, the FHSAA affirmed the decision to hold athletic practices or games amid public health concerns rests with the schools and school districts.
In short, the FHSAA will let school districts work out their own plans and adjust later. https://t.co/NzhU5aG0zF— Sam Grubenhoff (@SamGrubenhoff) March 12, 2020
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If games are canceled and makeups are not held, schools may still qualify for the postseason without reaching the minimum contest requirement on a case-by-case basis.
The release added that no decisions have been made about any upcoming state championship events.
"The FHSAA currently plans on maintaining the schedule as is, but will continue to work closely with host venues, local school districts, public health officials and our Board of Directors to help guide our decision-making process throughout the coming months, "the release read. "Decisions will be made in the best interest of coaches, administrators, fans and most importantly, student athletes."