Tellico Plains High School officials have told Volunteer Federal Savings Bank they will not be able to hold a football homecoming parade this year due to Gov. Bill Lee’s current executive orders.

“We are in agreement with the school’s decision,” stated a news release from the bank. “Therefore, Volunteer Federal is sad to announce that due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we will not be able to host the pep rally and tailgate party for Tellico Plains High School’s homecoming this year. After extensive thought, consideration and conversations, we made this difficult decision based on recommendations and executive orders from state, health department and CDC officials, along with conversations with Tellico Plains High School representatives.”

The school’s homecoming football game will still be held on Friday, Sept. 25. Face coverings are required to enter the game and social distancing is encouraged.

If possible, the school asks for families to sit together. To help with social distancing, attendees can bring chairs to sit in grassy areas around the stadium.

Per Lee’s current executive order, which was extended through Sept. 30, individuals and businesses are urged to limit social and recreational gatherings of 50 or more persons unless adequate social distancing can be maintained.

“Unfortunately, there is no way we felt social distancing could be maintained at the pep rally and tailgate party, which has been a popular event over the years with hundreds and hundreds of people in attendance,” the release continued. “In addition, while we could ask that all attendees wear face coverings at the event, we have little to no way of controlling a large crowd to ensure that everyone is properly social distancing and wearing face coverings. Because of these factors, we made the heartbreaking decision to not host this year’s pep rally and tailgate party. As a local business who cares deeply about our communities we serve, we do not want to contribute to the amount of spread in our local community.”

Bank officials reiterated the tough decision it was to cancel the event.

“We know this year’s seniors do not deserve to have these memories ripped away from them and we wish things were different,” the release noted. “All of us are saddened at what the coronavirus has taken away from us in 2020 and tired of dealing with its effects. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still very present in our county. We are praying for better days ahead. We look forward to hosting this event — bigger and better than ever — in 2021.”

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