After consultation with the Tennessee Department of Health and other medical experts, TSSAA plans to continue with its Sectional and State Basketball Tournaments as scheduled. The Tennessee Department of Health is not currently recommending event cancellations. While the risk to the general population remains low, we will continue to monitor the situation and provide any updates as they become available. Below is a letter sent to our member schools with information and resources from the Tennessee Department of Health and the Centers of Disease Control.
March 5, 2020
To: Superintendents, Principals and Athletic Directors
From: Bernard Childress, Executive Director
Subject: Information and Resources on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
With the recent news of the first confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Tennessee, we are starting to receive questions from a number of member schools about the potential impact on regular and postseason competitions in Tennessee. We have already begun seeking guidance from the Tennessee Department of Health, and we will continue to closely monitor this rapidly‐changing situation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be giving an update to high school and other sports organizations on this disease on Monday, March 9th. We will pass along any new information to you at the conclusion of this update.
In the meantime, this memo is designed to provide information and resources to schools in order to keep participants, personnel, and spectators safe and informed. We will continue to have contact with the Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Department of Education to determine if and when any additional measures, including decisions about modifying/postponing/cancelling any athletic/activity events, need to be taken. We would encourage schools to coordinate with their local public health authorities or office of coordinated school health for guidance specific to their school communities.
Key Planning Considerations for Athletic/Activity Events
These are best practices schools should consider when preparing to host an athletic/activity event:
- Emphasize that participants, staff and spectators should stay away from the event if they feel unwell (have fever and cough).
- Prioritize that all frequently touched surfaces throughout the venue are properly cleaned prior to the event with approved disinfectants and that adequate cleaning supplies are available for use during the event.
- Provide easily accessible soap and water or alcohol hand‐sanitizers and tissues in all venue common areas and consider having additional hand‐sanitizer stations available to promote proper hand hygiene.
- Promote appropriate respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene practices prior to and during the event through signage and announcements. Visit the CDC’s Coughing and Sneezing Etiquette and Clean Hands Webpage for more information.
Tennessee Department of Health Everyday Precautions
Tennessee Department of Health officials recommend people in Tennessee help themselves by taking everyday preventive precautions to reduce the risk of getting and spreading viral respiratory infections, including the flu, the common cold and COVID‐19:
- Cover your mouth with a tissue, sleeve, or elbow (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze, and then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol‐based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are often touched (cell phones, door handles, etc.).
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If you are sick, stay home and seek medical care immediately if symptoms, such as high fever or difficulty breathing, become more severe. This will help to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others.
- Parents are advised to keep students home if they display any signs of illness.
- Build your body’s overall health resilience by eating well, exercising, getting plenty of rest, and staying up to date on vaccines. It is recommended to get a flu vaccine each year and it is not too late to be vaccinated.
For more information about Coronavirus (COVID‐19), please refer to these resources:
- Tennessee Department of Health Coronavirus Updates CDC Coronavirus Information
- CDC Community Mitigation Guidance for COVID‐19 Response
- CDC Interim Guidance for Schools to Plan, Prepare, and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID‐19)
The TSSAA will continue to monitor the situation and provide updated information as it becomes available.