Many school districts around the country have resorted to hybrid or remote learning in the fall of 2020. And after much soul searching, some sports programs canceled or moved their fall and winter sports seasons while others modified theirs to decrease the likelihood of spreading COVID-19.
Some thought they had found solutions for keeping high school kids safe and began to compete. Football and volleyball got underway, with hockey and basketball to follow. But the late fall has brought a spike in the number of cases and deaths due to the virus, particularly in the Upper Midwest and across the country. What was thought to be managed now seems to be again spinning out of control as hospitals across the country fill to capacity.
This recent spike prompted Minnesota governor Tim Walz and others to shut down their states for at least four weeks, effectively ending or pausing all high school prep sports seasons in the state. Elsewhere, teams wrestling with the virus drop out, leaving abbreviated playoffs for remaining teams.
Parents and the players wonder if the cure is worse than the virus, arguing that kids are low risk and their disappointment, isolation and loss outweigh the medical risks. Perhaps cancel the seasons, but at least letting them practice. However, health officials say it’s more about spreading the virus than contracting it – the kids may not get sick, but they endanger older folks they come into contact with, including parents, grandparents, teachers and coaches.
The future is still bright
Many high school athletes will compete in college, while others may play (or have played) their last competitive game. But as the pandemic rolls on, the news regarding vaccines has been positive. High school sports, and all sports, will be back. This is a good thing, though it may be some time before parents and players come to terms with it.