Greenville School District board votes to cancel 2020 fall sports

There is no joy in Greenville, for the Hornets have begged out.

In a decision that could influence similar moves across Mississippi, the Greenville School District’s Board of Trustees voted 5-0 Tuesday night to cancel all fall sports and student activities for the 2020 season.

District spokesman Everett Chinn said Wednesday the board came to the decision following an in-depth discussion about preserving student, faculty and support staff health amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Last night at the district board of trustees meeting, the Greenville School District Board of Trustees unanimously voted to cancel all fall sports and high school activities,” Chinn said, confirming reports from late Tuesday night. “During the board meeting, the Trustees voted to cancel football, volleyball, cross country, choir, band performances (at both football events and fall parades), and cheerleading for football.”

Chinn said the same board is set to reconvene on Sept. 22 to decide the fate of winter sports of basketball and soccer for the 2020 season.

The Greenville Board of Trustees is made up of a five-member panel from the community. The meeting Tuesday included Greenville’s Superintendent Dr. Deborah Dace and board attorney Dorian Turner.

It’s decision to cancel fall sports came on the same day the Mississippi High School Activities Association issued enhanced guidelines for preserving the safety of fall sports amid the pandemic.

According to Chinn, Dace stressed to the board prior to the vote that the first priority of the district must be the health of students and faculty/staff.

Second-year Greenville football coach Quintarus McCray could not immediately be reached for comment. The Hornets were set to open the season at home against Ruleville on Sept. 4.

Greenville is the county seat of Washington County, Mississippi’s 18th-most populated county, where coronavirus cases have spiked over the last two weeks. It is now estimated that roughly one in every 33 Washington County residents has had a confirmed case of the virus. The district has an enrollment of 6,718 students. 

On July 19, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves added Washington to a growing list of Mississippi counties now operating under additional measures to disrupt the spread of the novel coronavirus. The order requires the wearing of masks in public spaces and limits indoor gatherings to 10 people where social distancing is impossible and such outdoor gatherings to 20.

Those increased safety measures also now extend to the counties of Claiborne, Desoto, Grenada, Harrison, Hinds, Jackson, Jefferson, Madison, Quitman, Rankin, Sunflower, Wayne, Panola, Tallahatchie, Tate, Sharkey, Simpson, Walthall, Calhoun, Holmes, Lamar, Montgomery and Yalobusha.

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