Corona Virus Quarantine Day #151: An update! August 18, 2020:
Yesterday was the official start of fall sports in Kansas. Today, day 2, we waited with bated breath to see if Johnson County would change the gating criteria for kids to be able to play sports. Most of those I spoke with believed they would. They did not.
So, currently if the 14-day rolling average of positive infection rate is over 10% no school in Johnson County can be in the school building for class or sports. As of today we are at 11.5%.
So that begs the question…what are we to do?
Shawnee Mission issued a statement today that they will be cancelling all fall sports and pushing for the other Johnson County schools to join them for a spring season of fall sports. This is a suggestion I personally have made to KSHSAA on more than one occasion. If the likelihood of fall and winter sports before January 1 is as low as everyone thinks it is, and/or if the gating criteria doesn’t change, it seems the best case scenario for high school athlete’s to have some kind of season.
This would look different and each season would be considerably shorter than it might be in a “normal” year, but let’s get real…nothing about this year is normal.
If all three seasons (Fall, Winter and Spring) were moved to the second semester we may have a better gating criteria or the numbers may go down or there is even the possibility of a vaccine. Also, it doesn’t make the athletes choose by putting two seasons at the same time. So if a young woman plays volleyball but also is on the track and field team they could arguably do both because they’d be in different seasons.
While there remain many unknowns about any of those things being a reality, what we do know, is that under the current system, the present day criteria…it seems very likely that none of us are playing sports this fall if we follow it.
Schools do have the right to ignore the gating criteria. At this point no one in government is mandating anything. So schools can decide that they think the gating criteria isn’t a good metric and play on. However, we are seeing a trend that most schools will follow it for educating kids in the building. For many, this may send mixed signals. If we can’t be in school but we can play sports is that the message we want to send?
Also, it is important to point out that at any point this “criteria” which up until this point is just a suggestion will become a mandate and the government will shut us down. If the numbers continue to trend up, as they have been doing for weeks, it seems more a question of when fall sports will get called off, rather than a question of if fall sports get called off.
Blue Valley had their Board meeting tonight and have announced that they will be evaluating the gating criteria of Johnson County versus the criteria the KSDE established and adopting their own criteria. So for many people, this is a light…in other words they are going to pave their own path. But as of right now, no one knows what that path is going to look like. So we continue to wait in Johnson County.
As a head coach, teacher, lover of sports and kids I want to see kids play sports. I have seen how excited our players were to be in the gym last week at camp, even if it meant they couldn’t high five and had to wear masks. I saw today, our own children go to their first school tryouts and practices and how they had an extra skip in their step. I know the value and importance of being in school with teachers and coaches who genuinely care about our kids.
However, I don’t have all the answers. College campuses are sending kids home. The infection rate (even with numbers none of us totally understand) are trending upwards…and all of this before the school year even starts.
What I do know and feel with my whole heart is that what we are doing is unfair. It’s unfair to everyone. Parents, coaches but most importantly to these young kids. We keep kicking the can a little further down the road without any real decisions being made. In many ways it feels more cruel than just making a decision and living with it. In other words, it is always better to rip the band-aid off quickly than pull it off a little at a time. Right now we are in the slow pull and these kids are struggling with that.
I was supposed to decide my teams today. Make cuts (my least favorite activity in the world). I could not in good conscience do that with all of this so up in the air. Why would I break a kid’s heart (especially in the world they’ve been living in the last 6 months) for no reason if it may have all have been for no reason? The answer is, I wouldn’t. Colleagues have always told me my job would be a lot easier if I was a little more heartless, the decisions would be easier. That may be true. But I’ll keep my bleeding heart. I’ll keep fighting for these kids. I’ll keep looking for solutions and alternatives for whatever their high school season may be.
No matter what happens I told our girls I will be honest with them. I will tell them what I know when I know it so that they aren’t feeling like they are constantly in limbo with one million and one unknowns. I wish I had more information to give them today other than…I’ll see you tomorrow. One day at a time right now.
As I was reminded yesterday, tomorrow will worry about itself.
This week should give us some more answers…at least I hope so.
Fletcher got to try ice skating this week and he loved it. He asked me at bedtime if he could go to school or go skating tomorrow. He was good with either one!
If there is anything cuter I don’t know what it is. Oh man. I wanted one of them in their little knee pads but they has already removed them. They had tryouts today and they had such a blast. Love, love, love these sweet little girls. Ellen is wearing my number from college. She was pretty excited about scoring that number. My heart!
Got one of this cutie in the parking lot! Those kneepads, those big feet. I feel like I’m looking at a 3rd grade version of myself.