High school sports can officially begin this month.

The Florida High School Athletic Association, the state’s governing body for high school sports, voted Friday to allow the return of fall sports practices on Monday, Aug. 24 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board voted 11-5 in favor of the plan, which will mostly keep the fall calendar intact with abbreviated regular seasons.

The first allowable regular season date in football, volleyball, golf, bowling, cross country, and swimming and diving is Sept. 4.

There is one amendment to the plan; schools can opt-out of the state series by Sept. 18 if they believe a season is not feasible. Any school that opts out will be given the option to compete outside the normal fall sports calendar.

The decision answers the plea of an on-line petition that had almost 42,000 endorsements by Saturday morning.

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