For months, hundreds of athletes waited for news about whether or not they would get to play this year. Last week the DPS Board of Education finally voted to move forward with fall sports.
Volleyball and cross country will begin practicing this week. If approved by the school board at future meetings, other teams will follow the schedule outlined in the district’s plan:
The risks are obviously there and the DPS Board of Education knows this, but they have come to the conclusion to implement what they call a “phase-in approach.” The phased approach is to limit the exposure to COVID-19 for student-athletes and to reduce the risks of overtraining due to being out of practice for so long. In phase one, they focus on reducing the spread of COVID-19 by limiting the teams to working out twice a week for 90 minutes, and participation is voluntary.
In phase two, attendance is still voluntary, but the teams will be allowed to work out five days of the week for two-hour sessions. The first games will begin on November 16, following all restrictions and guidelines. The board made the decision to not have spectators during these games, and if they do eventually allow spectators to watch, outdoor events will be reduced to 30% capacity, and spectators will not be allowed to inside games.
COVID-19 has taken so much from everyone, especially students. Seniors specifically were anxious to find out if they would get to play one last season before they graduate. While most students are anxious to get back into their seasons, some are hesitant.
“I cheer and I would love to start this season but I also don’t want to risk it considering I could give it to my family,” an anonymous sophomore said during the meeting.
The lack of spectators for these sports is making things more difficult than planned. DPS has a certain budget for sports and without spectators buying tickets, the costs for these sports to safely reopen is cutting it very close to the budget.
The difficult decision to reopen sports to these students has been made. The students’ well-being had a lot to do with this outcome and now these athletes get to have their seasons back.
A lot of students rely on sports to be an outlet from home or from school, and when COVID-19 took this away, many have felt the brunt of it all. School and district leaders hope this decision to bring back sports can help these students again like it once did.