NEWPORT—The Cocke County elementary and recreation basketball season is officially on hold.

Due to rising numbers and further complications from COVID-19 in the county, the Cocke County School Board made the decision on Friday to place all elementary and recreation basketball activities on hold, at least until January.

“With so many games cancelled, this was a decision we felt needed to be made,” Cocke County Athletic Association Director Shannon Grooms said. “Right now we want to do what’s best for the kids and their families. The main word in today’s release is ‘postpone.’ We’re still going to do everything in our power to ensure these kids have their basketball season.”

As of Friday’s postponement of the season, 12 Cocke County Elementary Basketball Association games had already been postponed, as opposed to the 16 games that had been played so far this season.

County schools all across the area have been forced into remote learning due to rising cases and contact tracing within the schools. Some schools had been forced to go remote for weeks at a time due to the severity of their conditions.

As a general rule for elementary basketball in the county, no school means no play, which added to the high number of games that were being postponed through the first four weeks of the season.

“This was something we were forced to look into early on,” Grooms said. “It’s not a decision that was just made overnight. We’ve met many times and have discussed a plan in case our situation worsened.”

With a month off, the county school board, directors of athletics and principals in the county are hopeful that the situation will get better in the area, allowing both elementary and recreational leagues to return to play and finish out their seasons as they had originally planned on.

While January is listed as the projected month to return to activities, that doesn’t come as a guarantee.

Grooms notes that meetings will continue and plans to return to play will be discussed over the coming weeks.

“We have a meeting scheduled with all of the principals in the county set for next week,” Grooms said. “We’re hopeful to have more information on the next steps by then. Right now, we hope taking these measures allows our battle with everything that’s going on to pass so we may continue on.”

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