LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jefferson County Public Schools will decide Friday morning whether to suspend athletics as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Louisville, a district spokesperson confirmed to WDRB News on Thursday.
Jefferson County hit the red phase in the state's color-coded COVID-19 incidence rate map this weekend, reaching 27.4 new daily coronavirus infections per 100,000 residents based on a seven-day average as of Sunday.
"That's going to be a real concern moving forward, but we're going to monitor it and see about next week," Superintendent Marty Pollio said Monday said when asked about local COVID-19 data.
"The state document is very clear," he said. "When you go in red, suspend athletics."
State guidance directs school districts to transition to remote learning and suspend athletics and extracurricular activities if their counties' COVID-19 incidence rates top 25 new cases per 100,000 residents per day, the highest level. The document also directs school leaders to use local coronavirus data on Thursday to determine school operations for the following week.
Under a reopening plan up for consideration by the Jefferson County Board of Education on Tuesday, sports and other extracurricular activities will be suspended when Jefferson County's COVID-19 incidence rate hits red.
Pollio reiterated that his Thursday decision will be based on state public health guidance.
"They have given us a clear rubric on this, and we will follow that," he said. "So instead of going by other gut feelings or opinions, we're going to follow the guidance of the experts."
Pollio said he would consider updated COVID-19 data on Thursday before making a decision on suspending high school athletics for the following week.
Games scheduled this week, including high school football contests, will go on as scheduled, he said.
While classes in Kentucky's largest school district have been remote since the start of the 2020-21 school year, the board allowed high school sports to begin with extensive precautions like dividing teams in half and allowing each half to practice at different times.
Face masks are required between drills, coaches must wear face coverings at all times, and there is no shared equipment. The district also closed games to the public, with stadiums' capacities limited to 20% and limited tickets distributed through players.
JCPS announced an extension of its distance learning program on Oct. 15 after local COVID-19 data worsened in recent weeks, scrapping tentative plans to gradually reopen classrooms starting Thursday.
To view the district's full set of safety standards by sport, click here.
Copyright 2020 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.