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Sports shut down for virus

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No games or practices for the rest of March due to COVID-19 scare

Ball fields and courts across America, and in Jones County, have gone silent.

Due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, all school and recreation sports in Jones County have been shut down for at least two weeks.

Jones County Schools athletic director Barry Veal announced last Friday morning that the spring sports schedules for the high school and middle school teams were being suspended.

The Georgia High School Association, acting after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp requested that the state’s schools consider shutting down to prevent spread of the virus, recommended last Thursday evening that schools suspend play. Late Monday, Kemp ordered all public schools to close until the end of March.

Veal announced that Jones County would stop play after meeting with the schools’ coaches early Friday morning. He said at the time that the teams would be allowed to continue practicing as long as classes continued.

But the school system announced later Friday that schools would be closed at least for this week, so Veal said Monday that the teams will not be allowed to practice as long as the schools are closed.

Veal said he consulted with school officials in Henry County before the decision was made because Jones County is in the same region with seven Henry schools, so many games that the Greyhounds play are against those schools.

“They are closing schools for the next two weeks, so they would not be available to play anyway,” Veal said.

As of Monday, there have been no cases of coronavirus confirmed in Middle Georgia. But it was announced Monday that Henry County has two confirmed cases of people with the virus.

Veal said he has no idea how long the spring seasons will be interrupted. As for making up games that will be postponed, he said officials will have to make decisions after schools are cleared to resume play.

“It would be hard to reschedule two weeks or more of games. I expect each sport will have to determine how to pick the region’s top four teams to advance to the state playoffs. Hopefully the GHSA will give us some direction on how to proceed once we are able to resume playing.”

School sports now in season include baseball, soccer, golf, tennis, track and gymnastics. Spring football practice is scheduled for April and May.

Not long after the school system announced its halt, the Jones County board of commissioners announced that the Jones County recreation baseball, softball and track seasons would also be postponed.

And the same thing has happened on the college and professional level.

Pro basketball, soccer, baseball, golf, tennis and auto racing have all suspended their seasons for at least the next two weeks.

The NCAA has canceled the men’s and women’s basketball championship tournaments for this season and also suspended spring sports for colleges.