The states of Kentucky and West Virginia sit on their respective sides of the Tug River. So close in geography that many move from West Virginia across the river into the Bluegrass State.
However, being in such close proximity to one another, we examine just how different the two state’s outlook differ on dealing with COVID-19.
At the beginning of pandemic, spring sports were quickly canceled out of precaution. At that time, we really couldn’t comprehend the severity of the virus.
Football season was pushed back in both states in the beginning, however, Kentucky played a majority of their season unhindered barring a week or two.
The Mountain State looked as though they would play the game without restriction at first, but that soon changed as cases ravaged Southern West Virginia.
Mingo County schools got to participate in only three games in football.
Across the river, Kentucky schools tried to carry on as normal. It has to be a hard thing for a student athlete to be told by officials that you can’t play, while other schools just across the border play all around you. Although Kentucky has had delays, for the most part, it went off without a hitch.
It’s the same with winter sports. Kentucky schools are now in the gym, practicing just like any other year after an initial delay to the November 23 start date. Kentucky pushed its regular season start date back to January 4. Teams began practicing this week.
While our neighbors to the North are not officially allowed to participate until after the new year.
Mingo County can officially start basketball on January 11.
Pike County schools for instance, will have weeks or months of preparation time over Mingo County.
Is the virus worse in Pike County than in Mingo? No one can really say that for sure. It goes to show the autonomy of different states and governments. Gov. Jim Justice handles his state. The safest manner he sees fit, as does Kentucky governor Beshear.
It also shows the differences in the governing bodies of high school sports in each state.
Pike and surrounding counties have tried to relatively move on unhindered as the WVSSAC has taken a little more of a conservative approach to moving forward.
Mingo County and Pike County teams play each other in nearly every sport. Kentucky has been on the lucky end as playing goes with the virus. Thanks to social distancing and masks, schools on the Kentucky side have not had havoc like our friends across the border.
We are looking forward to sports starting back and with the Pfizer vaccine already on its way across the country, we may finally get to see them start soon. Moderna is also scheduled to have its vaccine approved and on the way any time.
The problem that lies ahead now will be getting folks to actually take it. Experts say around 70 percent of the population will have to be vaccinated to stop the pandemic. However, many show hesitation about putting it in their bodies.
With the efficacy rate for both vaccine’s north of 90 percent, if taken we could be on the road to sports bring back in no time at all. That’s the hope sports fans have, anyway.