Orange County schools begin high school football practice during coronavirus pandemic

District says it will lean on medical advisory committee throughout season

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Monday marked the first day of football practice for Orange County Public Schools.

One football dad, Scott Morrell, said his son, Dakota, is a senior quarterback for Lake Nona High School and was looking forward to seeing his son play his final year.

“It’s just blood sweat and tears all the time, and then you get so fearful and stuff that because somebody gets sick, and people, you know, react to it in the way that they do, that all this work and stuff is going to be for nothing, so it’s terrifying,” said Morrell.

Morrell says he is cautiously optimistic about the season.

With COVID-19, and not knowing what this season would look like, Morrell said they celebrated when they heard from Orange County Public Schools that Varsity would be playing this Fall.

It’s a season Morrell said he hopes will lead to a scholarship for his son, but fears what could happen if someone contracts coronavirus.

“To offset the course of somebody’s entire life for the reason of somebody, you know, contracting something that they may recover from,” said Morrell, adding it’s terrifying.

News 6 asked OCPS’ Senior Administrator of Athletics and Activities, Doug Patterson, what would happen if a student-athlete contracts coronavirus or is exposed.

Patterson said they would follow advice from medical advisers, adding they are blessed to have a medical advisory committee. He said they have a group of leaders from a safety standpoint that will provide guidance on how to proceed.

Morrell said his son was originally doing face-to-face learning but said OCPS has the football players now doing LaunchEd at home or learning together in a classroom with fellow teammates to minimize contact.

“Whatever concessions we need to make to get them on the field, we’re willing to do right now,” said Morrell.

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