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Polk County Schools suspends athletic programs due to COVID-19

More than 50 student-athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks
Posted at 10:57 AM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 23:59:50-05

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Leaders at Polk County Public Schools have made the decision to temporarily suspend all athletics programs due to the spread of coronavirus.

The suspension of athletic programs is effective immediately.

All practices and competitions are canceled until Jan. 4, said Senior Coordinator of Athletics, Dan Talbot.

More than 50 student-athletes participating in winter sports have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks, according to a release from Polk County Schools.

“Right now, we have cases among cheerleaders, basketball and soccer players, wrestlers and weight lifters,” said Scott Sjoblom, COVID Response Section Chief with the Florida Department of Health in Polk County.

“We have reached this decision in close collaboration with the Florida Department of Health in Polk County. Coronavirus cases are on the rise in our county. We must do everything we can to limit exposure and safeguard our students and community,” said Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd.

Polk County Schools will continue to monitor cases in the community throughout the winter break.

Polk athletic programs have limited attendance at athletic competitions to allow for social distancing, required spectators to wear face coverings and required student-athletes and coaches to wear face coverings and practice social distancing as much as possible during practices and competitions.

“It’s important to remember that our schools are a reflection of what’s happening in the community. Case counts are rising throughout our county. This is a time to be extra vigilant. Suspending athletics is one more measure we can take to protect one another from this virus,” said Sjoblom.