Franklin Parish head football coach Sonny Nason spent Friday night watching his former team — Crossett High in Arkansas — play a game in northeast Arkansas. He also watched other high school games in Texas and Mississippi.
Nason would have rather been involved in a jamboree or game of his own, but the LHSAA has pushed back its starting date to October 9.
“It’s frustrating,” Nason said. “But we have to go by whatever the governor decides.”
Louisiana state governor John Bel Edwards pushed back Phase 3 to September 11.
“That doesn’t allow us to get in shoulder pads or have contact,” Nason said. “It hurts, but it still gives us four weeks to get ready without a jamboree of scrimmage. “We’re focusing on playing that first game on October 9 and have all our attention on that. That target date has given us motivation the past month. We’ll definitely take that over the alternative.
“We’re ready for some contact and simulating playing football,” Nason said. “We’ve been flipping tires and running routes since this all started. The guys are ready to start hitting somebody.”
Phase Two for two weeks
Louisiana will stay in “phase two” for at least two additional weeks, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Aug. 25.
Crowds will remain limited to 50 people, face coverings still will be required in public settings, and bars still will be closed to on-premise service. Most other businesses will be limited to half of their normal capacity.
COVID-19 testing sites in Louisiana was shut down last week due to Tropical Storm Marco and Hurricane Laura. It takes about two weeks before a change in public behavior is reflected in the COVID-19 statistics, so Louisiana officials haven’t yet been able to measure the impact of reopening K-12 schools, colleges and universities.
“We’re basically going to be blind for this week,” Edwards said.
Counting students, staff and faculty, schools make up about 25 percent of the state’s population, Edwards said. Though most schools are teaching at least partially online, a significant proportion of the state’s population potentially have come in contact with each other for the first time since campuses were closed in March, he said.
“The prudent thing is to go two more weeks and then do an analysis of where we are,” he said.
Recent reports have indicated modest but steady improvement in the state’s case counts, positivity rates and number of people hospitalized. But Louisiana as a whole over the past week has had more than 100 new cases per 100,000 residents, which puts the state in the “red” according to federal standards. About half of the state’s parishes also are considered red, Edwards said.
Attorney General Jeff Landry, after initially supporting Edwards’ actions, has said the governor has overstepped his authority, though four court rulings have upheld the restrictions.