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Knox County Schools puts hold on sports, extracurricular activities

Dec. 14 - Jan. 5, all sports and extracurricular activities will be canceled.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — There won't be much happening inside Jody Wright Arena at Fulton High school for the rest of 2020.

"I think it's one of those things, you stay in it long enough you see it all, that's where we are," Wright said.

A normally busy time of the year for winter sports is coming to an abrupt halt in Knox County. As part of its announcement to move to complete online learning this week, sports and extracurricular activities were canceled.

"We're encountering a lot of firsts here and this has been a year where you have to be so flexible and so ready to change."

There's frustration, but understanding.

"I'm disappointed, but I'm not going to sit here and be critical of people that made a very hard decision," Wright said.

Sports aren't the only activities impacted. The arts have had a hard time this semester as well.

"It's been a particular challenge, it's been hard for our kids because so much of what we do was taken away because of COVID-19," said Danny Mull, South-Doyle High School director of bands.

When the news dropped from KCS, he was in the middle of setting up for a Thursday concert.

"It was a difficult moment," he said. "I had to collect the students in the auditorium and we had to have a discussion about what that means for us and how we're going to operate moving forward."

While it technically falls before the cutoff, the school decided to postpone the concert until 2021. Mull says they want to care for the students whether they're practicing at school or at home.

"All of these teachers, they have a passion for what they do and they want to do it safely and we're doing everything we can do to that," he said. "It might look different but we're going to do everything we can to figure out how we can operate and for a lot of us that's the focus." 

"It's not so much about the content, it's not so much about the instruction it's about making sure our kids are doing okay and are in the right headspace."