The Georgia High School Association announced Thursday that football teams will not be allowed to hold preseason scrimmages against other schools, and it postponed the competitive cheerleading season to the winter sports calendar and one-act play tentatively to the spring.

GHSA executive director Robin Hines announced the changes following a Wednesday meeting with his medical advisory council and Dr. Kathleen Toomey, the state's public health commissioner. Toomey has expressed concerns about close-contact sports such as football and cheerleading taking place this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic and also raised concerns over large group gatherings like band and chorus, though the GHSA does not govern those activities.

No decisions have been made yet on the winter sports season, which begins in November.

The tentative first allowed date for cheerleading competitions will be Nov. 21 with the state finals tentatively scheduled for Feb. 26-27. Teams can continue practicing under the GHSA's recommended guidelines. Hines said the change was made "due to the high risk of indoor, packed arenas, which do not allow for social distancing."

The one-act play decision was made "due to the risk of indoor venues and aerosol spray from projection and singers."

The other three fall sports — softball, volleyball and cross country — are continuing along their regular schedule with softball and volleyball seasons beginning this week and cross country later in the month.

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