FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Team practices began Monday at high schools around Kentucky, but a newly scheduled Kentucky Board of Education special meeting has created uncertainty for parents, students and coaches as the fall sports season ambles forward.
The meeting is set for Friday at noon.
Last week, the Kentucky High School Athletics Association voted to begin team practices, though at the time that plan still required approval from Gov. Andy Beshear.
Beshear gave that approval, albeit tepidly, when he said Monday he would not act to stop it. In the same breath the governor said he did not necessarily believe the plan was “a good decision or a wise decision,” partly due to the reported prevalence cardiac problems including myocarditis in athletes after COVID-19 infections.
“I hope that in Kentucky we can be more successful with youth sports than other places, but the outlook is not good,” Kentucky Health Commissioner Steven Stack, MD, said Monday. “There’s a lot we don’t know about this disease. We don’t know some of the more silent but really serious harms that this disease causes.”
The KBE special meeting agenda says it discuss creating “written communication to be issued to the KHSAA (Board of Control) by the KBE Chair (Lu) Young on behalf of the KBE urging additional consideration of alternate options for high-contact fall sports.”
Contact sports include football, soccer and volleyball.
KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett and Stack are scheduled to speak during the meeting. Beshear said in his Thursday press briefing Stack will provide health information related to COVID-19′s post-infection cardiac problems he claims wasn’t presented at the KHSAA Board of Control meeting that approved the fall sports plan last week.
“What I’d like to see is a meeting where they simply lay out all the information that’s out there so parents, teachers, coaches and superintendents all know what we’re looking at,” Beshear said.
The governor clarified he did not ask for the KBE meeting.
According to WKYT, the board has the power to overturn the KHSAA plan.
Beshear said he does not believe KBE will make any decision on fall contact sports Friday.
A statement from Interim KBE Commissioner Kevin C. Brown reads:
“I want to correct some misinformation that is being spread across social media and news outlets. The Kentucky Board of Education will not be considering canceling sports seasons at its special meeting Aug. 28. There is a narrowly tailored agenda that includes a report from KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett about the status of fall sports, a report and discussion from Department for Public Health Commissioner Steven Stack, concerns from superintendents and possibly authorizing a letter from the board to the KHSAA Board of Control voicing concerns about high-contact fall sports.
“The KHSAA is the designated agent of the KBE and its authority will be respected, yet the board still has a moral obligation to review matters that could affect the health and safety of students. This is why I recommended the meeting take place. To do otherwise would place the KBE members in a position of ignoring their obligation to oversee the ‘management and control of the common schools and all programs operated in these schools.’”
Kentucky has 775 newly reported cases of COVID-19 and eight new COVID-19-related deaths, the governor reported Thursday.
Some 23 percent of Thursday’s newly reported cases are kids 18 and under.
An additional 26 students and 3 teachers have active cases of the virus, bringing the total active cases to 85 students and 31 teachers across Kentucky’s school districts. (The governor clarified Thursday the cases does not mean the students are learning in school.)
The state’s positivity rate is 4.8 percent, below the 5-percent threshold held out by the White House and inching down to the 4-percent mark sought by the Kentucky Teachers Association.
Kentucky is in a literal plateau right now with a reproduction rate exactly at 1.0, according to rt.live, which presents open source data from the COVID Tracking Project.