NEWPORT, Ky. — Newport Independent Schools will reopen on Sept. 29 and will proceed with the district’s fall sports, Superintendent Tony Watts said on Thursday.
The Wildcats will play their first football game Friday against Bishop Brossart High School in Alexandria.
Watts, who played collegiate basketball at Mississippi State, said he struggled with the decision.
"But I met with some of our parents, and I realize that sports are an opportunity for some kids to go to college,” Watts said. “And as an athlete, knowing I could not play my junior or senior year of high school would have been tough to handle. So, we are going to make it as safe as possible, but we decided it's time to let the kids get back to playing."
All fall sports teams will be allowed to play their seasons. Home game attendance will be limited to two tickets per player.
The news comes on the heels of one Northern Kentucky school district opting out of some fall sports; the Erlanger/Elsmere School District announced earlier this month it will not participate in high-contact or close-proximity sports this fall.
In the schools, high-touch areas will be regularly cleaned and sanitized, and all students, teachers and staff will be required to wear masks.
Other safety measures include:
- Students entering school buildings will have their temperatures taken and recorded.
- Students, teachers, and staff will continually be reminded and given opportunities to wash and sanitize their hands.
- Breakfast will be served in bags, “grab-and-go” style, with students taking their breakfast to the classroom. Lunches will be pre-ordered by students and served in classrooms.
- Unless seated, masks must be worn.
- As students enter and leave school, teachers will monitor hallways to maintain social distancing.
- To reduce the amount of movement in hallways, students will remain in classrooms and teachers will change classrooms each period.
- Water foundations will be shut off. Students will receive water bottles for drinking.
- Teachers will go through enhanced technology training.
The reopening plan will be closely monitored and will be re-evaluated if necessary, Watts said.
"We are going to give this a try so we can get the kids back in the classroom," Watts said. "If we start getting positive cases of the virus, then we may have to shut down again. We certainly don't want that to be the case, but we are also going to make sure our schools are operating in a safe environment."