In Middletown, parents, students, and coaches had one message for the Board of Education: let them play.
As schools across the state open back up, many want to know whether students will be allowed back on the track, the field, and in the pool.
“Being a senior, it’s my final season as a swimmer, and we would honestly do anything to just have a season,” said student Abigail Conquest.
“I play baseball, and my junior year, the most important recruiting year, already got taken away from me,” said student Logan Wenzel.
The majority of those who spoke during public comment at Tuesday night’s Middletown Board of Education virtual meeting advocated for fall sports. They asked that each sport be considered separately on whether or not it’s safe to take place instead of lumped together. Some suggested that cross country and swimming competitions could be done virtually.
“Sports are so important for their mental health, their camaraderie amongst team members, and the mentoring the coaches do,” said parent Kerry Hart.
Many who spoke say sports help bring a sense of normalcy during a chaotic time and suggested that halting fall sports wouldn’t stop students from playing but instead lead to inequity and unknown exposures.
“If these students are denied an opportunity to play going forward, I’m going to tell you right now they will find a different district to play in. Or they are going to find a club outside of our school district to play in. Not everybody in our athletic program can afford that,” said Coach Josh Rosek.
The superintendent and athletic director recommended to the board continuing with low and moderate risk sports, which will follow safety guidelines provided by the Department of Health and CIAC. The BOE approved soccer, swim and dive, cross country, cheer, and volleyball to resume starting Wednesday. Volleyball players will be required to wear masks.
Football and dance were approved to continue practicing and conditioning.