Portal Middle High School (PMHS) has cancelled its Nov. 6 and Nov. 13 varsity football matchups against Claxton and McIntosh County due to COVID-19 public health precautions. The school’s Nov.14 varsity boys basketball scrimmage against Statesboro High School (SHS) is also postponed.
The football games will not be rescheduled. PMHS and SHS will attempt to schedule another date for their scrimmage before the basketball regular season begins. Students and faculty who are not isolated or quarantined will continue to practice. No other Portal athletic teams’ schedules are affected at this time. Portal’s next scheduled football game will be Friday, November 20, when the Panthers take on Bryan County at home.
Since Bulloch County Schools opened Aug. 17, PMHS has experienced three confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 amongst its students, faculty, and staff, which resulted in 37 precautionary quarantines. This includes the case which led to disruptions in the athletic programs.
Justin Chester, PMHS’s assistant principal and athletic director, was part of a district team of coaches and athletic directors who have planned for and implemented the Georgia High School Association’s (GHSA) COVID-19 health guidelines since May, when teams began summer conditioning.
“We have worked hard here at Portal to follow GHSA guidelines to keep our student athletes safe,” Chester said. “This is a very unfortunate situation, but we will persevere by encouraging each to stay strong.”
The Portal football squad was notified on Thursday, about the decision to cancel the games due to the required Department of Public Health guidelines for COVID-19 cases and quarantines. The school has also contacted the athletic directors of the opposing teams.
To ensure the privacy of its employees and students, PMHS and Bulloch County Schools do not release private, individual health information. The school district provides a real-time COVID-19 website with the number of confirmed positive cases and quarantines by school. The site is accessible from all district and school website homepages.