Akron school board votes in favor of playing winter sports despite classes staying remote

Board votes 5-2 for contact sports and 4-3 for non-contact

Akron School board votes in favor of playing winter sports

AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - Just a week after the Akron School Board voted unanimously to keep all schools remote for the rest of 2020, in a twist, the board choosing to play on with winter sports.

The fate of winter sports was decided on Monday for Akron Public Schools.

The group voted 5-2 to allow contact sports with junior varsity and varsity girls and boys basketball and wrestling, and 4-3 in favor of non-contact sports like swimming, bowling, and cheerleading.

“This is an extremely difficult decision that this board made... and as you can see, it wasn’t a unanimous decision,” Board President Patrick Bravo said.

Those in favor of playing based their decision on two student-athletes who tested positive during the fall.

“By and large, we were really pleased with the fall sports season and how that progressed,” said Akron School Athletic Director Joe Vassalotti.

But what about testing?

For contact sports, screenings for players will take place every week.

“There’s not going to ever be a risk. It’s the fact that we are containing and mitigating the risk to allow participation. Very similar to what we did in the fall,” said Akron Public Schools Executive Director Debra Foulk.

These decisions continue to be debated among officials and parents who want their kids back in the classroom.

But several members asking for patience during this process.

“Our hearts go out to you. This is gut-wrenching what we’re doing here. But we are trying to move with a pace that allows for us to ensure that kids are safe,” said Akron Board Member Derrick Hall.

Board President Patrick Bravo added, “There is a responsibility and a trust that we’re placing in our student-athletes, our coaches and our families to make sure that our protocols are followed and that you take every measure to protect yourself and those around you.”

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