Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson issued a message to all high school football players at his daily press conference Friday afternoon.

"My message for the football players this Monday is grab your helmet and be ready for practice," Hutchinson said. "Then, after practice I want you to grab your mask so you can protect others you might be around."

The governor was joined at the news conference by Arkansas Activities Association executive director Lance Taylor and announced that football, volleyball and cheerleading practice would begin Monday as scheduled.

"We need school this fall," Hutchinson said, "and part of school are sports and curricular activities that go with school. We want our student athletes in football to proceed with their no-contact team drills with helmets throughout next week."

The Arkansas Activities Association recently had made the decision to play golf, tennis and cross country as scheduled for the fall season.

"I think all the kids across the state are excited right now and the coaches," said Taylor. "Coaches, I hope you will listen, because you've just been challenged. You're going to hit the fields Monday and the courts, and you're going to be preparing for the season.

"These are what are going to determine conference, regional and state championships," Taylor said, holding a mask. "We've been challenged, so we have to get our numbers down."

Hutchinson also has asked the AAA to submit a plan to the Department of Health.

"That will allow the Department of Health to review and develop the guidelines to mitigating virus risks associated with contact sports," the governor said.

Hutchinson also announced establishing a high school sports advisory group to make recommendations and assist the Department of Heath in the best practices in protecting student athletes.

"I've heard from parents, student athletes, coaches and many administrators," Hutchinson said. "If we do not have sports, many athletes will travel out of state to participate in sports, which adds another level of risk. We want to see how we can have fall sports in the safest manner possible. We want to consider every angle to protect our athletes, cheerleaders and band members."