Fort Hays State University football coach Chris Brown released a statement on Monday encouraging the community to follow health and safety guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19.


COVID-19 cases have steadily risen in Ellis County since Fort Hays State students returned to campus. The county had 98 active cases as of Monday, according to the Ellis County Health Department.


The Tigers are without sports this fall after the MIAA announced earlier this month it was suspending all fall sports until at least Jan. 1, 2021.


Following is the statement Brown posted to Twitter:


"These are very challenging times for so many people and we pray for those who have lost so much because of this virus. I urge everyone in our community to follow the necessary hygienic, masking and social distancing guidelines to help overcome this virus. The opportunity to have students back on campus and for our student-athletes to be able to work to improve to the best of their abilities is a privilege. This privilege is at risk if we cannot make the necessary sacrifices to keep everyone in our community safe.


"As a staff, we will continue to work to educate and hold our student-athletes accountable to those guidelines to ensure the safety of our athletes, university, and our community. We will overcome this challenge of this virus together. We are facing unique adversity but adversity can either bring you down or make you stronger. We will respond to this adversity and our student-athletes and coaching staff will come back stronger than ever.


"Be safe and ‘Go Tigers.’ "