MCPS should allow in-person sports

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Photo courtesy Ryan Meyer

Senior Ryan Meyer continues to practice tennis outside of school.

Covid-19 has taken away the normal in-person school experience from every student, but opinions differ on whether sport seasons could still be an option. 

MCPS has announced that schools won’t begin to return to in-person school until March, until then virtual sports will continue. MCPS athletes have discussed the possibility of playing in-person sports while doing remote learning. “I think we could do outdoor sports safely even if we don’t return to in-person learning and I know it’s important to many students,” freshman Maria Sofronas said. 

MCPS has kept safety a top priority this year keeping all school activities virtual but there are student athletes playing club sports outside of school. “I’m on a club team for soccer and we’ve been having in-person practice weekly,” Sofronas said.

Although there are students who are playing on their club teams, there are students who can’t afford to. These student athletes who haven’t been able to play their sport have been at a disadvantage. “Depending on the level, membership dues can range from $2,500 to $5,000 per year. Plus, some teams have a registration fee,” USA Today said. 

Participating in outdoor sports while following all CDC health guidelines is less of a risk to students’ health than in-person learning. “Smaller team sizes, avoiding physical contact when possible, spacing out visitors/spectators/volunteers as much as possible, wearing a mask when possible, minimizing sharing of equipment, and washing hands all may help reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread,” The CDC said. 

There is definitely a risk to have sports seasons and safety precautions have to be taken, but it’s something so important to students.”

— Maria Sofronas

Sofronas recognizes the risk if sports seasons are allowed this year but thinks there are positives as well. “There is definitely a risk to have sports seasons and safety precautions have to be taken, but it’s something so important to students,” Sofronas said. 

Sports help support students not only athletically, but academically and mentally as well. “High school kids are impacted in a multitude of ways; they are undergoing hormonal changes and use sports as a way to help reduce stress and control anxiety and depression,” University of Maryland Medical Center said. 

Football is a sport with limited options for club teams outside of school. Without football practices through the school, athletes have been meeting on their own to practice. “I practice football with other players during the weekends,” freshman Mathew Cortes said. 

Without the usual organized school sports, students have found alternatives to keep up in their sport. With organized sport seasons through the school, MCPS could ensure proper CDC health guidelines are followed when athletes are playing.