RANDOLPH COUNTY — In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and the interruption of athletic seasons, school officials in Randolph County took action earlier this month regarding middle school sports schedules.

Randolph County Schools Board of Education elected to approve the recommendation of staff to move basketball and volleyball into the spring. With that decision, no middle school athletics will occur in Randolph County until after winter break.

“That doesn’t sound good, but with what is going on right now, you could start some seasons before winter break and have them interrupted severely if things don’t slow down a little bit,” Gainey said. “We’ll get a little bit more time for things to maybe clear up a little bit. We’re obviously in what many people predicted would be a second wave of this pandemic, or it seems that we are.”

Basketball within the district is now scheduled to begin Jan. 4 and to run through Feb. 12. Football remains unchanged, with a tentative start date of Feb. 1, running through April 7. Volleyball will run from Feb. 15 to March 25.

Gainey said the decision was made after close consultation with health officials. A resurgence in COVID-19 case numbers prompted administration to reevaluate its previous plans.

“In talking with Randolph County Public Health and everything going on, we are concerned,” Gainey said. “The last thing I want us to do is to have a season and three-fourths of the team can’t participate and start missing a lot of games.”

The state’s high school winter sports schedule was amended earlier this fall by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association. Basketball is the first winter sport set to begin action Dec. 7, when first practices are anticipated. Games will return Jan. 4, and the final regular season contest will be Feb. 19.

High school football will not be played until at least February 2021. The NCHSAA moved the first official football practice of the season to Feb. 8. The state’s first competition date is set for Feb. 26, and the season will wrap up April 9.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at dkennedy@atnonline.net.