Southwick students protest, asking for school committee to allow fall sports

Hampden County

SOUTHWICK, Mass. (WWLP) – Dozens of Southwick Regional students protested Tuesday for a regular start to the fall sports season after the school committee voted to delay it.

The students are asking for the school committee to redo their five to two vote on pushing fall sports back.

Varsity boys soccer coach Chris Whalley told 22News, “Modified soccer is better than no soccer for these kids. Modified sports is better than no sports.”

Dozens of Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District students protested at the superintendents’ office to fight the school committee’s decision to postpone fall sports to February.

“We are one of only a few schools in our area that have voted no. Fall two is virtually impossible. We would have no one to play because all of our other sports teams, they’re already playing in the fall and soccer in February is impossible,” said Clare Hanna, a Senior soccer player.

For some seniors, fall would be the last time they play school sports. Others are also concerned about college recruitment, which they say happens early in the year.

“Having this taken away from them can definitely mess that up and I know sports are a big part, for me, in college, like it’s going to help pay for me to go to college and without that it would make it very difficult,” said Lauren Kowal, a Senior soccer player.

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association laid out guidelines for safe fall sports during the pandemic including wearing masks during games.

Whalley says the students just want to be heard, “Kids I’m coaching at club level, some of them play for this school, will be in Boston this week and they’ll be back at school on Monday. So how is that negating the risk?”

The superintendent said she wants to limit exposure from other districts where COVID-19 rates are higher than theirs.

22News reached out for an interview from the superintendent and received this statement:

“While the district recognizes and appreciates the value of the athletics experience, the first priority during this pandemic is to ensure the health and wellness of our school community.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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