SouthCoast Residents Launch Petition to Save Fall High School Sports
Last week, the South Coast Conference voted against the idea of having high school sports this fall. Conference leaders voiced concern about the mixed messages that would be sent by allowing athletics to be practiced and played on the same school campuses that were not allowing in-person learning to take place in schools.
At the moment, the best-case scenario for student-athletes who participate in a fall sport is to hope that the floating fall season, which begins in late February and would run through April, will become a reality.
As is the case with so many things affected by COVID-19, not everyone agrees with the plan to table the fall season. As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, over 1,200 people had signed a petition on change.org which outlined reasons why high school sports should be played this fall.
The petition finds fault with the fact that sports like field hockey, girls’ and boys’ soccer, golf, and cross country have been approved by the state after being modified.
They counter the SCC's finding that hosting athletics at schools that are strictly remote learning by quoting Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, who told WPRI:
“We decided it would not be right to punish the kids for the unwillingness of the adults in their district to do the hard work of getting the kids back to school...when these kids are going to be alone and isolated in their room for six, seven, eight hours a day, this might be the only opportunity that they will have to have in-person contact with a mentor, in a coach, or with their friends, to get out of their house to get some fresh air and be a part of a team.”
Organizers of the petition are also concerned about the logistics of playing outdoor sports in snow and ice, along with the problems that might occur by using grass fields in February and March.