ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (WOIO) - The Rocky River School Board met to determine if and when students would return to school, and if they feel it’s safe for them to play sports and participate in extracurricular activities.
Superintendent Dr. Michael Shoaf says there is still a lot to consider between now and when school is scheduled to begin on Aug. 31, including if the number of coronavirus cases spike or if there’s a reduction.
Varsity football player Joey Pike rallied with other students and parents, as they marched to the high school before the meeting. It was part of the “We Want To Go To School and We Want to Have A Season Rally.”
“Some of us got shorted last year during spring sports, and it would just be devastating if that happened again,” Pike said.
Matthew George who is also a varsity football player at Rocky River says, “It’ll be hard like Joey said. We lost our spring sports, if we lose this too, what are we going to have our senior year?”
The student athletes tell 19 News they have followed CDC guidelines and all the safety measures put in place by the school and their coaches in an effort to protect themselves from the coronavirus. But they want to return to the classroom, and they want to play sports for their senior year.
But as the Rocky River Board of Education met there appeared to be some tension between board members, at least three initially supported the idea of parents signing a waiver to allow their child to participate in sports and extracurricular activities.
Shoaf told the Board his fear is that a student would contract the virus and unknowingly spread it during a team practice.
Board member Kathy Goefert says, “I’m good with it if parents want to sign a waiver. If you don’t feel comfortable sending your children then you don’t sign it.”
Once the idea of a waiver was presented almost every board member said it would be something they could support, but the Board’s attorney said someone could still choose to hold the district liable and file a lawsuit, waiver or not.
Board member Addie Olander said, “I want to tell you right now I’m on the fence and I would like some time to process all the comments and input that I’ve heard today.”
However, board member Diana Leitch, who also sits on the Board, wanted to clarify the game plan, “Wait, wait, wait so where does the Board stand? Can kids start practicing again, or can they not start practicing again?”
That’s when one board member made it clear this is not a meeting where votes will be cast.
But it appears the district for now is leaning towards the hybrid model for the classroom, and putting legal waivers together so students at Rocky River can strike up the band and play ball.
“The challenge is we don’t want to create a spread in the community,” Shoaf said.
In the end no final decision was made by the Rocky River Board of Education on the issue of sports and extracurricular activities, but the Superintendent says if they do decide to resume practices and games, and a student or staff member contracts it, he’ll shut it back down.