LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — UPDATED: 11:25 p.m.
Red Torando parents and athletes blew into Tuesday night’s school board meeting to make one thing clear: they want a crack at a fall a season.
“We understand that risk. There is an inherent risk for what they do. That’s why there’s an ambulance outside that stadium every Friday night,” said Amber Remash, the mother of a McCaskey athlete.
“Some of the programs I’ve looked into have made it abundantly clear if I’m not able to run this fall, I’ll be passed over for other recruits,” said Stephen Schousen, McCaskey cross country runner.
The board voted 8-1 to continue with the sports season, but no indoor practices are permitted. The board will also revisit their decision on Sept. 8 — four days before the first scheduled scrimmage against another school.
“Nobody doesn’t want you to play. Right? If you could just play against yourselves, it would be fine, but it’s the fact that you’re going to be playing against other communities that might bring in the virus into our community,” said Dr. Damaris Rau, Lancaster School District superintendent.
This community is hoping that their sports seasons won’t be blown away.
“You’re the crushing the dreams of students who continue to not only fulfill their academic responsibilities, but grind on a daily basis for a sport — it’s not just a sport — it’s a passion,” said Dalila Torres, a parent of an athlete and employee at Carter & Macrae Elementary.
The ban on indoor practice will only impact volleyball. The district’s athletic director said they will work to find options for a suitable outdoor spot to practice.
The School District of Lancaster may become the second local school district to cancel fall sports after Milton Hershey decided to do so last week.
On Tuesday night, the board for the district is meeting at 7 p.m. to talk about what do with fall sports.
abc27 spoke with McCaskey athletes ahead of the meeting who were trying to convince the board to let the kids play.
Donovan McAlister, a senior at McCaskey, said if he’s allowed to play, he is expected to be one of the leaders on the football team.
“A lot of these guys I consider brothers and family,” McAlister said. “One season less without them really is devastating. To not have football, it would be awful. A lot of us come here to stay in shape, to stay happy.”
The board for the district is considering three options for sports: moving ahead with fall sports, only allowing ones deemed to have an “acceptable risk” to move forward, or canceling fall sports altogether.
Mercedes Frederick, a senior on the field hockey team, said she would be disappointed if the board decided to cancel fall sports. “A lot of times kids depend on sports to keep them going through school. If you take that motivation away from the kids, what motivation do they have to do school in the first place?”
The board has already made the decision that students will start the year virtually for safety reasons. Some administrators questioned what message they would be sending if they didn’t allow the students in the classroom, but allowed them to compete on the playing fields.
“I so want to open up athletics, but I think I just have to take a step back and consider the public health implications,” Dr. Edit Gallagher, the school board president, said. “I think that’s what my board and I will do tonight.”
Due to social distancing guidelines only 25 people are allowed inside the meeting. You can watch the meeting virtually here.