Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Friday his plan to have High School football across his state this fall. Not only will his plan include High School football, but volleyball and cheerleading were included in his plan to return sports to the field for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as well.

Hutchinson said that the Arkansas Activities Association will have High School football practice start the same day as Louisiana, on August 3rd. The LHSAA said this week that non-contact football practice can begin in Louisiana on the 3rd, with pads being added at a later date.

However, Hutchinson did request that the Arkansas Activities Association submit a plan to the Arkansas Department of Health for all three sports. The Governor will also be creating a High School Sports Advisory Group to help create a path towards a return to regular high school sports. The advisory group will help develop plans for student-athletes and school officials for this fall.

The news comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, have turned their attention to the startling rise in high school student suicide since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Dr. Robert R. Redfield has urged schools to get back to in-school learning as soon as possible, due to the risks of students being out of school outweighing any COVID risk to youth.