MOULTRIE, Ga. — The Colquitt County School System has announced the closing of schools Dec. 12 and 13 due to the 7A State Championship Football Game.
In a message posted to the system’s Facebook page about 11 a.m. Monday, School Superintendent Doug Howell said the decision is based on the availability of bus drivers and substitute teachers.
The game was originally scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 8, at Mercedes Benz Stadium, but it was rescheduled to Wednesday, Dec. 12, when it became apparent that the Atlanta United soccer team, which uses the stadium for its home field, had earned a right to host a championship soccer game that day.
The Colquitt County High School Packers defeated Archer High on Friday night to reach the championship game, where they’ll play Milton High. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m., but the game is the last of four planned for the day; if those earlier games run long, the start of the 7A game could be delayed.
“There are many logistical, transportation, and personnel issues involved with playing the championship game on Wednesday, December 12th,” Howell wrote. “The logistical issues involve transporting the team, coaches, band, and cheerleaders safely to Atlanta on a weekday when traffic is already maxed out because of it being a work day, rush hour, etc. The transportation issues revolve around taking twelve buses and drivers to Atlanta on a school day (Wednesday) and not returning until early in the morning on Thursday. Drivers would not be able to drive a school route on Thursday morning. Personnel issues involve many school employees wanting to take a personal day and go to the game. There are not enough teacher substitutes to cover regular expected absences and for those teachers/employees who would choose to go the game.
“This is a situation that the teams involved did not create,” his message continued. “We will do what is best for our students, employees, and parents. The team, coaches, band, and cheerleaders will most definitely go to Atlanta on December 12th and compete for a State Championship in 7A Football. The Packer Football team deserves the support of the many fans who can make the trip and the fans who will watch on TV. The team and coaches have worked extremely long and hard and deserve to be supported. School system parents and employees who have children/students involved in the game should have the opportunity to support them at the game.”