I have written to the Calvert County Board of Education concerning fall sports and I encourage the general public to do the same. The seriousness of the pandemic is real, however, we have a responsibility to give our children as much normal as possible.
I offer you truths that sports, band and other arts build character, friendships and memories. Sports give students structure, leadership and teamwork skills, social interaction, and both body and mind health benefits — something that is extremely important for these children in the middle of a pandemic and what has become a violent time. The brains and emotions of these students are still developing, they need to know that in what seems to them to be an unstable world, they can still count on the structure of their team. This structure will be even more important if Calvert public school system goes through with a virtual school year.
At the very least, decisions need to be made on a sport by sport basis, not in a sweeping gesture. For instance, open-air/non-contact athletics such as golf and cross country, band and perhaps a restricted form of cheerleading/poms should be allowed. There is also absolutely no reason that contact sports shouldn’t be able to continue training while socially distancing. Making a blanket decision on sports is an inappropriate action and does not respect the hard work these students have exhibited for years.
Students have lost their spring season, they will never have that time back. Let us not take away their fall season as well. If the school board is making decisions based on potential litigation, they need to please keep in mind that there are some athletes who have real chances at university scholarships and make decisions with student health and financial futures in mind instead. Many parents are willing to sign a consent form — we do it every year anyway. If the decision to cancel is made, the public needs to know how the transportation and athletic funds that won’t be used will be spent if they aren’t open for student use.
I understand the fear and frankly, I’m nervous myself, but teaching our children to be ruled by fear is not helpful either. Even if schools do not open physically, there is absolutely no reason that some of our athletic teams can’t compete. Furthermore, there is no reason that all of our athletic teams can’t continue conditioning while practicing social distancing. If a health outbreak happens, it will concern a small and controllable portion of the student population. In addition, exercise and existing good health will help our students to combat COVID-19 or any other ailment.