Hernando Schools announces return to sports plan

BROOKSVILLE – Hernando County School Distirct's indefinite suspension of fall athletics has come to an end.

The district released a press release following its Tuesday board meeting containing a plan to restart sports Sept. 7. Athletic directors from the county's five public high schools presented the plan to the school board.

Cross country, football, golf, swimming and volleyball will begin their two-week practice sessions on Sept. 7 and competitions will begin the week of Sept. 21. The first varsity football games will be Friday, Sept. 25.

The announced start dates allow district programs to remain eligible to participate in the Florida High School Athletic Association's state playoff series, according to the press release.

The school district announced that it was suspending all fall sports indefinitely in late July. Since that time, school districts throughout the Tampa area and state announced reopening dates for classes and restarting dates for sports. Schools reopened in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties on Aug. 24. Hernando's first day for students is Aug. 31.

Opponents will be limited to in-county schools and those from Citrus County to the north.

Attendance will be limited for all sports to 25 percent capacity. The press release states that Citrus and Hernando will utilize an online ticket vendor and parents are encouraged to visit their high school's website for more information.

"Schools will implement additional safety protocols that include daily temperature checks for athletes and face coverings while on school transportation and where appropriate," according to the release. "Parents are not required to sign a Release from Liability form but are asked to indicate their understanding of the possibility of exposure to COVID-19."