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COVID concerns may affect start of high school football season in Pima County

Posted at 12:21 AM, Oct 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-17 03:21:37-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — In a statement from Pima County's Health Department, Director Dr. Theresa Cullen said conversations are ongoing between high school athletic programs, health officials and school districts.

Cullen said the Arizona Interscholastic Association, which governs school sports in the state, had the same guidelines as state's on all aspects of COVID-19 except one: the definition of 'minimal community spread.'

That's the condition that would need to be met for schools to continue contact sports.

Because the county remains below the benchmark for cases over two consecutive weeks contact sports, like high school football, may have to delay their practices, and by extension their seasons, until all benchmarks meet criteria.

KGUN9 reached out to the biggest district in the county: TUSD.

A district spokesperson said because they're in Fall break they were not able to provide comment.

Tucson High football coach, Justin Argraves gave us comment in a phone call.

He said his team has been practicing for a month and as of two weeks ago started practice with helmets.

Argraves said full contact practice would have started next Tuesday.

Of his 50 or so varsity players, Argraves said, 20 are seniors.

While he said he feels for every player in his program, he its hardest on his seniors.

The County's Health Department said it only provides guidance to districts and that ultimately the decision rests with them.