Debate continues over whether youth, school sports are adding to COVID-19 spike in Tarrant County

Youth and school sports may be adding to the rise in coronavirus cases in Tarrant County.

One high school football coach said the issue isn't necessarily about what happens on the field.

Tarrant County health experts are putting the spotlight on sports, saying close gatherings of kids and parents are not helping to stop the spread.

There is also a focus on post-game gatherings after the clock runs out.

The debate continues over public school sports possibly adding to a COVID-19 spike in Tarrant County.

Aledo High School football coach Tim Buchanan is flipping the issue from the field and the stands, to off campus get-togethers.

“The parties are a big issue for us,” he said. “We’ve done some knuckleheaded things by allowing kids to go to big parties. We heard there was a Halloween party with over 400 kids. I don’t know if a parent organized that or not, but there were a lot of kids at this party. It’s not a coincidence that a few days after that, we started having more kids test positive.”

On Tuesday, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley suggested that schools, perhaps, pump the brakes on athletics, and put seasons on hold, but he acknowledged that the state or districts themselves would have to make that call.

RELATED: Tarrant County leaders alarmed as daily COVID-19 cases hit record highs

As for private associations and little league sports, he said that’s a different matter.

“They ultimately have to have some place to play, and that’s going to be the cities. So the cities could have some control there,” Whitley said. “If the cities were to say, ‘We are closing our parks. We are closing our athletic facilities,’ that will go a long way toward what may be done.”

Whitley said his suggestions are ways to help curtail the spread of the virus without affecting businesses or jobs.

Meantime, Whitley said he supports coach Buchanan for speaking up.

“I applaud him for saying that. These coaches have an effect on their kids,” he said. “If that coach tells them, ‘I better not catch you attending a party or doing something like that or I’ll bench you,’ that’s going to make the impression.”