If a Mississippi High School Activities Association team cannot play a region game due to the pandemic, it is a forfeit.
MHSAA executive director Don Hinton said these situations are classified as no contest, but there has to be a winner and loser for region standings. “We're trying not to penalize anyone, but we have to be able to determine the seeding,” he said.
The same is true for a playoff game, but not for a non-region regular season game. If one team cannot play a non-region game, the other team has the option to consider it a victory. MHSAA leaves that decision up to the schools.
“Do I think that's fair to the kids? Probably not. But I don't know if there is any other viable option. Nobody likes it, but I understand it,” Kosciusko athletic director Macy Wilbanks said of a forfeit.
“We are in a weird kind of year. We just have to move on and deal with the things we don't like.”
Eupora athletic director Alex Rawls said, “Logistically, it would be impossible to reschedule a (football) region game and still be able to prepare for the playoffs. I can see how it could be met with resistance by a school that has an outbreak. But at the same time, I can see why the decision was made.”
Choctaw County athletic director Jim Wood said the MHSAA had no other option. “I don't have a problem with it. At some point, you have to figure how who is going to win and lose, and having it go down as a loss is the only way they can do it. The Activities Association's hands were really tied.”
Wilbanks and Winona athletic director Charlie Parkerson noted that rescheduling is easier in other sports, as often happens when a contest is not played due to the weather. But Wilbanks said it would be difficult to set different rules for other sports.
State guidelines require that if at least three members of a team test positive, the entire team is quarantined for 14 days. If there are fewer than three, Hinton said the school is required to trace the student's recent contacts and notify the contacts and their parents. “That's straight from the governor's and the health department's mandates.”
A school district may set additional guidelines.
Choctaw County superintendent Glen Beard said the district uses guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the Mississippi Department of Education. Links from those agencies outlining steps that should be taken have been provided to district personnel.
The link from the Department of Education is titled “Mississippi Schools: Guidance for the 2020-21 School Year.” Among policies outlined is a requirement that schools make weekly reports of COVD-19 to the Department of Health, submitted by noon Monday for the previous week.
The link from the Centers for Disease Control outlines procedures for contract tracing of COVID-19 and investigating a COVID-19 case.