Taylor Spencer | Of The Talon staff
High-frequency contact sports are now permitted to participate in games this fall against teams outside of St. Louis County after a district announcement on Sept. 18.
According to a press release issued by the district, any upcoming games and tournaments scheduled outside of the county will be played. Additionally, directors are looking to schedule additional competitions with teams outside of St. Louis County. Activities director Mitch Lefkowitz said being faced with the unpredictability of a pandemic means sports will have to adapt, and all decisions are being made to ensure the safety of all students.
“Unfortunately, we are dealing with a worldwide pandemic and there are many competing forces out there right now trying to figure out not only the best way to deal with a pandemic but determine what is best for kids. So we just have to deal with what we can control,” Lefkowitz said.
This news came a week after the guidelines declaring that moderate and high-frequency sports in St. Louis County could not play in games or tournaments, but could continue with practices and team workouts were implemented. Low-contact sports and activities such as tennis, cross country, swimming and diving, and golf were not affected by this decision, and are continuing with their regular schedules this season. It was announced by the county last week that moderate contact sports could play inside the county. The initial decision to cancel games for moderate and high-frequency sports came from St. Louis County Executive Sam Page. Page’s decision stirred up quite a bit of controversy with the parents of student-athletes, and with the athletes themselves.
Multiple protests have been held in response to his decision, with one occurring outside of Page’s home on Sunday, Sept. 13, and another in front of the Courthouse on Sept. 16. Senior and field hockey player Claire Warren, who attended the former protest, said she took part because she believes students deserve the chance to play this fall season.
“I went to the protest because I feel very strongly about what I believe in, and I believe that we should be playing this season and that we deserve to play,” Warren said.
While official schedules with additional games have yet to be released, Lefkowitz said that the moderate and high-risk sports will be facing smaller, more compact seasons due to the late start.
“Our seasons for softball, football, soccer, volleyball, and field hockey will be shorter since we are starting in week five of competition. We will get in as many games as we can prior to district play for those teams,” Lefkowitz said.
To keep students safe, they will be required to follow a number of guidelines at the games that are currently implemented at practices and team workouts. Additionally, Lefkowitz said students must follow any additional rules that other venues may have.
“We will continue to follow all the safety protocols that we have been following while practicing. Wearing masks when not participating in physical activity, health screeners, temp checks, using hand sanitizer, and social distancing as necessary,” Lefkowitz said. “If we play at an away venue, we will follow all the guidelines that have been set up by those venues.”
While the season may be shortened, Warren said she is incredibly appreciative that she will be able to play games during her final year.
“I am extremely grateful and excited to be able to play this year. I never realized how much I took field hockey for granted until this year when I realized I may not even have my senior season,” Warren said.