Social Circle football

Social Circle kicks off the 2020 season Aug. 21 on the road against cross-county rival George Walton Academy.

Football practice will start a week later in Social Circle after officials shut down practice this week due to a positive COVID-19 case.

Head coach Rob Patton confirmed late Tuesday afternoon there had indeed been a positive case, but did not disclose if it was a player or a coach.

“We are shut down this week and will be back next week,” Patton said when reached by text message Tuesday.

Shortly after, Social Circle City Schools Assistant Superintendent Carrie Booher gave The Tribune a statement from the school system.

“While our teams have been following GHSA (Georgia High School Association) safety guidelines, we currently have several individuals who are quarantined due to a confirmed exposure to COVID-19,” Booher said. “We encourage all visitors, students, and staff to wear masks, practice social distancing, and use hand sanitizers.”

The case at Social Circle is the third involving a football team in Walton County. George Walton Academy suspended practice last week after a player tested positive. The Bulldogs are set to resume practice next week.

Walnut Grove had a coach test positive the last week of June prior to the Georgia High School Association’s mandated “dead week,” resulting in just one practice being canceled while the coach was in quarantine.

The GHSA has allowed on-campus workouts since June with numerous precautions.

Last week, the GHSA board of trustees voted unanimously to delay the first week of the high school football season by two weeks, to Sept. 4. The season will remain with 10 games over 12 weeks, with a five-round playoff.

Mandatory football practices were allowed to begin Monday, as previously scheduled. The schedule for other fall sports is unchanged, with the first official practices beginning this weekend.

Some school districts like Atlanta Public Schools might have ditched fall sports entirely without a two-week delay for football, GHSA trustee Jasper Jewell said.

Walton County had 880 cumulative confirmed cases as of Thursday afternoon, 200 of which have been reported in the past two weeks, the Georgia Department of Public Health said. There had been 96 people hospitalized with 32 deaths.

Brett Fowler is the sports editor of The Walton Tribune. He is a 2016 graduate of the University of North Georgia and a 2010 graduate of Monroe Area High School. Brett has been covering Walton County sports since 2011.

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