Around 100 people, crosstown rivals, players from different sports deemed high-risk and their parents, gathered in Rockville Sunday to protest COVID-19 restrictions placed on some high school sports.
Under the county’s plan, football teams will not be able to practice in full protective gear and contact will not be allowed during practice. As for the fall season -- it’ll just be three games.
“Some transparency would be nice on why the decisions were made,” Larry Hurd, the head football coach at Walter Johnson High School, said.
Cheerleading and poms are affected, too. Students won’t be allowed to do kick lines or stunts.
“It’s a very underwhelming season,” one student said. “We have a lot of restrictions on what we’re able to do.”
In front of the Montgomery County Council Office Building, the group chanted, "Let us play!" Policy makers say safety is their primary concern.
“I’ve been apprised of multiple schools -- I won’t name them -- but multiple high schools that have had multiple Covid cases,” Councilmember Craig Rice said. “And those have happened in outdoor sports as well as in some indoor contact as well.”
Students also said they’re considering the opportunities that sports open up after high school when they say they want play to resume.
“For the seniors, this year is like their year to shine and show what they can do to the college scouts around the world,” one student said. “But now that we’re not playing, a lot of them are just sitting at home.”
Scrimmages will be allowed for low- and medium-risk sports like field hockey, soccer, girls’ volleyball and golf.
“The schools are making sure that they’re wearing masks when they’re playing, when they’re off the field, so I truly believe it’s safe for them,” Lavanya Sithanantam, a pediatrician who attended the rally, said.
The Montgomery County Public Schools district said the season has not been cancelled, but due to the current health order, it is not able to advance to full contact. It awaits further guidance from the county.