GHSA has plan in place if swine flu reaches Georgia high schools


GHSA's Swearngin

The GHSA has tentative plans on how to react if the swine flu reaches Georgia high schools and affects spring sports.

The threat of swine flu has postponed all high school athletic competition in Texas and Alabama. Georgia’s governing body is monitoring the situation and has taken no action at this time.

“If Georgia were put in the same situation that Texas and Alabama finds itself in, then obviously all the extracurricular activities would have to be stopped,” GHSA executive director Ralph Swearngin said. “We’ve had some of these same type of discussions a few years back when there was the possibility of the bird flu. There were concerns that the epidemic was going to hit, and the CDC and other groups had seminars for our school people.”

The GHSA’s top priority would be to complete the state championships of all of its spring sports.

Here’s how things might work under Sweargin’s swine flu scenario:

Wait on others before reacting swiftly. “Once the word came out, the schools would be out of session and there would be no public gatherings allowed. We would look at for how long it would be … that would determine what kind of decision we would make about our playoffs.”

Examine a timeline to resume competition. “In Texas, they have May 11 as the date to pick back up sports. From my perspective, that wouldn’t be a firm date for us. We’d have to see what the people in authority determine about the high schools before we lay out our part of the plan … otherwise it would be a waste of energy.”

Finish the schedule of spring sports. “What we’re talking about is the last 2-4 weeks of the school year here. If they said the [postponement] would be a week, then we would look how to restructure our playoffs. If they don’t know how long it is, and we’re getting ready to get out of school, then we might have a worst-case scenario. There would be no spring state championships this year and we’d move on.”

Focus on the state championships. The finals for gymnastics are Friday, while lacrosse, tennis, golf, soccer and boys track are scheduled to wrap up by May 9. Girls track ends on May 16, while the baseball championships series are planned for May 29-30. 

“The primary goal, for a lot of reasons, would be to complete the state championships. If the [postponement] were to happen next week, then we could push back the championships back.”

Figure out a baseball plan. “If we lost two weeks of baseball in the early rounds of the playoffs, then that would be a little bit more of a problem because pitching. We’re not going to change the pitching rules. We may to have to put the playoff games closer together, which would mean the schools would have to suddenly discover a few new pitchers.” Note: Pitchers are allowed to throw only 10 innings one day, and a total of 14 innings over four consecutive calendar days.

Leave spring football practice up the individual school districts. “That’s kind of an interesting thing. That would essentially be a local school decision. We’re not really involved in that.”

Note: Sweargin emphasized his scenarios are simply his best educated guesses how events may unfold. “That’s all presumptuous. We have no idea at this time what the scope of the problem might be.”

21 comments Add your comment

Swine Flu in Georgia | Hot Topics

April 30th, 2009
2:27 pm

[...] GHSA has plan in place if swine flu reaches Georgia high schools The Georgia High School Association made two things clear on Thursday about the swine flu: They are monitoring the situation, and if affected, … [...]


April 30th, 2009
2:49 pm

State championship trophies for everyone!!

Tired of it!!

April 30th, 2009
5:05 pm

When is society going to learn that there are things much more important than High School Sports? If the swine flu hits GA, cancel the sports and do not worry about re scheduling them, in the overall scheme of things they do not matter.

Maybe we should be more concerned on how to finish the Academic School year and if we can start on time next year?

A coach and teacher

April 30th, 2009
7:04 pm

Clearly you must not have played sports, otherwise you would know the importance of them in a young persons development. Yes, academics are very important to be successful in life. Sports are as equally important in learning to work with others as a team. Think about what you do for a living. It’s easy for someone to tell someone else, oh just stop and move on! Not easy to take when you are a young impressionable athlete who looks to their coaches for guidance and answers. What kind of message would that send if we (coaches) just told them: oh well, season over! Sorry, it’s not that simple!

A concerned citizen

April 30th, 2009
9:15 pm

What kind of message would we be sending if we aloud them to finish their season and only half of the children return next season? Wow! It’s very apparent none of these teachers or coaches are the least bit concerned about the childs health. These teachers and coaches seem more concerned about the insignificant trophy instead of the more “pressing” matters, such as Health and well-being. Furthermore, if any of your educators are anything like “A coach and teacher” we may need to think twice about sending our children to that perticular school.


April 30th, 2009
9:47 pm

Dear citizen, “allowed” not “aloud” You had no coach or spelling teacher huh? I know, your passion caused a typo.


May 1st, 2009
7:27 am

Be sensible. Don’t panic. There is absolutely no reason to even think about canceling school, sports events, or any other public gathering until there is firm evidence that people are getting and spreading the virus at schools in Georgia. Let’s not have a kneejerk reaction.

I never played on a school sports team but I recognize that athletics, fine arts and academics all are vital to a school’s success and to education. Don’t let the naysayers and Chicken Little “sky is falling” types have their way when there is absolutely no reason for them to do so. Just because Alabama and Texas reacted hastily and stupidly doesn’t mean that those of us in Georgia should show our ignorance by following suit.

Tired of it!!

May 1st, 2009
8:43 am

Coach, I am surprised you were the only one to say I did not play sports in high school. You are correct, I did not, but his blog is not a debate on the validity of High School Sports, it’s about setting priorities as we face a possible pandemic. I fail to see how canceling the rest of the season, and not re-schedule it, is going to adversely affect anyone in the development of morals, ethics or social skills.

If we have the all clear come this fall, throw all the balls you want.


May 1st, 2009
9:43 am

Tired Of it! You must have never put your whole heart into a sport or had a team that meant anything. Try practicing three hours a day for two months working out every day of the year just to get better. How could you just say to all the students who work their butt off; that means nothing, just cancel it? I really wish you would get a life and care about something because I promise you no one cares about your opinion.


May 1st, 2009
3:09 pm

Grow up people! Of course everyone is concerned with the children’s health; including coaches and teachers. Stop throwing off of these athletes as if what they do or have done doesn’t count. Sure, if the need arises, we should stop certain activities for a period of time but never cancel them completely. These kids have worked very hard to get where they have gotten. After all one of life’s lessons they are being taught is that hard work does get rewarded. Not that it counts for nothing when adversity presents itself. You’ve got to remember, athletes often work harder in high school than others. Not only are they physically training for their sport, they are working jobs and keeping up good grades. I think its old school to think that the athletes are just “dumb jocks” that care nothing about academics. Academics always come first. I know many, many, many, kids that are busting their tails for both. I also know very dedicated coaches that insure that education comes first because that is what is guaranteed to determine your future income potential. Sure, it would be nice to have an athletic scholarship but when it comes down to it, its easier to get an academic scholarship than an athletic scholarship. “Adversity doesn’t build character…it reveals it”


May 2nd, 2009
10:51 am

I think it is good that the GHSA has a plan for what will need to be done should the H1N1 Flu reach our schools. Still, at the same time, I love sports and i would not want to stop playing sports unless there was a extremely high risk level.


May 3rd, 2009
6:06 pm

I am so proud to be from Alabama. I have lived in Ga now for 9 years, and, I must say, it has been very concerning to me that GA law allows people to keep their kids home and legally neglect them of their education. This is only MORE PROOF that the system over here doesn’t care about our kids THAT ARE ACTUALLYL IN SCHOOL and not sitting at home watching tv while their parents work or the teenage siblings watch them. This virus will be spread worse in Ga, because of all the mexicans we allow over here. We cater to them and love them here you know, so what do we expect? I hate it here. I wish all the hateful Northerners, and mexicans would move. I wish the system would allow testing of homeschooler IN FRONT of a qualified teacher once a year to make sure the parents are qualified to teach, and, if they’re not put their behinds back in the public school so that the parents have to get up like the rest of us and get their kids ready for real school.


May 4th, 2009
9:30 am

Can we please get some recruiting and spring practice updates, how about some real coverage of hs spring sports, track regionals were last week–yet we haven’t heard a peep from the ajc. no need to have a hs sports page if you aren’t going to cover hs sports!!!!

I agree!

May 4th, 2009
11:45 am

I agree with msbssy! We are in the middle of soccer playoffs too, and there has been nothing in the ajc about soccer! And “Tired of it!!” really needs to think about the kids that have put everything into a sport and they finally have a great team in their senior year! You want that child to just give it all up? That is just COLD!!!


May 5th, 2009
1:43 pm

John, just because Alabama and Texas made a decision to protect their athletes is no reason to say they acted stupidly. As a parent and former athlete I applaud them for at least for making a decision. They are not sitting back like Georgia to see if someone/anyone is going to get sick first before making a decision about a child’s future. The bottom line is no sport or job is worth a child’s life.

I'd Like A Big Fat Heaping Bowl Full Of....... Brains!!

May 5th, 2009
3:56 pm

I think anyone that takes the H1N1 virus lightly really needs to back track and educate themselves. As of now the US has only seen 1 death, but who is to say what tomorrow will bring. 2 cases of H1N1 virus have been CONFIRMED in the state of Georgia and many other samples have been sent to the CDC for testing. It is better to be safe and cancel EVERYTHING to avoid the spread of H1N1 than to be naive and spread the virus to all. If more people had taken this virus serious from the beginning we wouldn’t be looking at 38 states having conformed cases. This is not just a little virus that makes you a little sick, people are on ventilators fighting for their lives. God only knows what will happen should an already ill person catch the virus. Georgia has taken this H1N1 virus lightly from the beginning and has contadicted itself on many different occassions. I had to call the CDC personally and complain because Georgia, initially, was refusing to test people for the virus unless they qualified. Qualifications to get tested made ansolutely no sense, 1. you must have a temp over 100, 2. you must have a soar throuat and cough for at least three days and 3. you MUST have either been subjected to a person who TESTED POSITIVE for the virus and have PROOF you were around such person or that you were in a state that was CONFIRMED in having the virus and PROOF you were at said state. If you didn’t have ALL three, you would NOT get tested. Places like Alabama and Texas that took precautions to save their people are the states that made the right choices….. states like Georgia that are sitting back WAITING to see who gets sick or if they qualify for testing are the ones acting ignorantly and risking peoples lives. Not everyone is healthy and not everyone will be able to fight this virus…. even with the medicine. It is better to be paranoid and safe than stupid and dead. I guarantee Georgia has more cases than 2, and if someone would get off their rump and begin testing like other states have, we’d know just how bad off Georgia really is. Pretty odd how Georgia just had over 500,000 caskets and body bags delivered to Atlanta Georgia, and in February 2009 when asked why they had all of the body bags delievered responded with “In the unlikely event that we are ever hit with biochemical warfare, we would just like to be prepared.” Paranoid…. yeah, probably but I’m not taking chances with my childrens lives.

I'd Like A Big Fat Heaping Bowl Full Of....... Brains!!

May 5th, 2009
4:02 pm

bunch of typo’s in my previous, but everyone still gets my point. Sometimes your fingers move a bit too fast for the keyboard, lol.


June 16th, 2009
6:58 pm

Okay, yes sports are important in a student’s life. But if there is a swine flu outbreak, the health of ALL students, teachers, staff and the surrounding community members should be of the first and utmost importance. If a kid comes down with this flu and is in a life and death situation, which is possible…do you think he or she will care? I think NOT. Do you think the parents will care if the child will miss a game, championship or whatever? I think NOT?

If you, the teacher/coach has such a big problem with it then you are in the wrong profession because you are supposed to care for the welfare and help protect the children you teach and train while under your supervision. Self-esteem is very important indeed; but I think people living is too…or, more so. Don’t you think?

Valdosta-Lowndes Co. (28 State Titles)

November 17th, 2011
1:38 pm

Valdosta-Lowndes Co. (28 State Titles)

November 17th, 2011
1:38 pm


November 30th, 2011
9:51 pm