Return to Fall Sports: Keeping Our Athletes and Community Safe

High school and youth sports and Preston County go together better than apple pie and ice cream.  We live for Friday nights and we all desperately just want to get back to normal.  The good news is that if we all do our part we can help ensure our kids get to stay on the field. Participation in youth sports has known health benefits, including promoting physical fitness and mental wellness.  It provides critical social interaction for our kids during this time of uncertainty. Team sports form the framework for young athletes to learn concepts of teamwork, leadership, work ethic and integrity.

While the benefits of sports participation are widely known, we all have a social and moral responsibility to protect our athletes, our community, and keep the COVID-19 infection rates trending down.  The decision to participate in sports and spectate at sporting events will be dependent on the safety measures we take all week long.  How closely our athletes, coaches, families, and fans practice safety guidelines will ultimately determine if our fall sports are able to continue.  Participants and spectators must understand that social congregation increase the risk of individuals becoming ill and potentially spreading the virus to family members and the community. If we do not make our best attempts to physically distance appropriately, limit or eliminate contact, wear masks, and thoroughly sanitize in our day to day lives, COVID infection rates will rise and our kids’ school attendance and sports activities will be on lockdown again.

In a recent briefing Gov. Justice said of high school sports “They give us so much. They teach us so many life lessons. They’re important to our communities, they bring us together. But, at the same time, we need to be safe.  I tell people, it’s up to the public to decide whether or not we are going to have athletics come this fall, because you’re the one who will wear the masks.”  “It sounds like it’s an easy thing to do for everybody to get on board,” WVSSAC Director Dolan continued. “So, if you are the one who’s not socially distancing, not wearing a mask, you very well could be the one – you are setting an example for somebody not to follow and then that hurts all of our chances of participating.”

Wear your mask in public, avoid confined spaces, postpone social gatherings, sanitize thoroughly, and limit unnecessary travel.  Please do your part now. . . Our kids need this. . . and our actions today will determine if they get to play tomorrow.  Stay safe.  Be healthy.  Protect others.

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