An array of student-athletes in the Sweet Home school district will be out on the practice field Saturday, after the School Board decided Monday evening to hire coaches for a group of sports.
Practices will start a few days later than most other districts, but the decision was a victory for the many athletes who showed up to push for approval of re-starting their sports, They cited reasons from college scholarships to getting that final year of sports before the academic rigors of college.
Board member Nadine Ocasio opposed starting sports.
"I believe in the Sweet Home way. I believe in our coaches. I believe in our athletes. What I don't know is what happens when others from other districts come," Ocasio said. "We have all seen the issues that other districts have in coming up with a safe plan to have their kids in school. I can't trust that their carelessness won't come back and affect our children."
One way of resolving that issue is for women's swimming. Each team will swim in its own pool and the results will be compared between schools to figure out who won. Other sports will play on the same field, but there will be severe limitations on attendance and students will have to wear masks.
Board member Joshua Feldmann said there are health risks in re-starting, but they seem balanced.
"We're inviting districts in who we have no control over how they are administering their return to school program. So it is not without risk. I know that the risk of those in this room is very well informed and I know that the student athletes' voice is very well represented here tonight. But you have to understand there's another 80 or 85% of the student body that isn't a student athlete."