JAY — Most members of the Regional Faculty Unit 73 board of administrators voted Tuesday evening to permit low- and moderate-risk sports activities this winter.
On Dec. 10, the board voted 6-5 to not enable winter sports activities within the district.
On Dec. 14, 21 student-athletes held a protest at which they held indicators exterior Spruce Mountain Center and Excessive colleges in Jay.
About 25 individuals attended Tuesday’s particular assembly on the center college, with one other 75 taking part by way of the Zoom videoconferencing platform, in keeping with Chris Hollingsworth, the district’s curriculum and expertise coordinator.
Board Chairman Robert Staples learn a letter from Dr. Michele Knapp, the district’s physician, after she was requested for her opinion on permitting winter sports activities through the the COVID-19 pandemic.
In her letter, Knapp wrote she was involved concerning the well-being of scholars and your entire group.
“I’ve concluded that it could be protected to proceed with winter sports activities, so long as we comply with the really helpful security tips,” she wrote, noting that the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Maine Heart for Illness Management & Safety have really helpful permitting sports activities if security tips are adopted.
The district’s three nurses — Deanna Hamblin, Jennifer Kachnovich and Jessica Jewett — additionally wrote a letter of help.
Of their letter, the nurses famous there had been no school-based transmission throughout the district, and choices about college students competing in sports activities must be made by households.
Betsy Mancini, who has labored in public well being for 25 years, stated she has watched bodily, emotional and psychological well being deteriorate in the neighborhood.
“You, the board, have an unimaginable alternative and duty,” she stated. “When you don’t enable (student-athletes to play), I concern the end result goes to be far larger than any concern you might have over children doubtlessly getting sick and transferring COVID-19 to household/group.”
Freshman Mary Hamblin spoke emotionally of how taking part in sports activities creates a bond amongst college students and helps with psychological wellness.
Sophomore Lucas Towers stated different college districts have accredited winter sports activities.
“Children my age have to be out of the home with our friends,” he stated. “Sports activities does that.”
Others spoke in help, both in particular person or from their properties. Most shared how sports activities influence college students bodily and mentally.
Director Joel Pike sought to approve winter sports activities packages with a requirement that each one taking part athletes spend not less than 25% of “crew time” every week centered on psychological well being actions, and report their compliance every month to the board.
“For me, this was the important thing factor I heard,” Pike stated. “We’ve got a duty to pay attention. Colleges across the state are beginning to take a look at this.”
The board unanimously agreed.
Alpine and Nordic snowboarding, thought of low-risk sports activities, had been accredited unanimously.
Basketball, competitors cheering and ice hockey, all moderate-risk sports activities, had been accredited, though not unanimously.
Athletic Director Marc Keller stated the wrestling season is on maintain. It’s the solely high-risk winter sport, and can be reevaluated by the Maine Principals Affiliation the tip of February.