To Mask or not to Mask during After School Activities? Well it Depends on what Grade you're in....
Last week, the elementary school girls three-week basketball season kicked off. The girls were supposed to have a full 6-week season during the Fall semester, but “due to rising covid case numbers”, district administration made the knee-jerk decision right before the start of the season to “postpone”. There was no mention, at the time, that the new “season” would only be three weeks long or that it would be at the same time as YBall, meaning girls who wanted to do both would now probably have to choose.
In yet another knee-jerk reaction, the district has decided during week two of three that all players are required to mask during play. The notification sent to some parents indicates the handbook was updated to reflect this change. Who has the authority to update the handbook and what oversight is required to do so? Is this something the board is required to approve? In typical fashion, parents who complained received a placating response.
Parents at other schools didn’t receive a notification and found out if their kids told them or at
their first game this week. All players were masked both during play and on the bench and masking of spectators was enforced.
On the same evening, sports events all over the valley were also held, including a tri-team wrestling match AT Capital High and a boys basketball game AT Timberline High. Here’s what those events looked like:
Wrestling match at Capital High: No masks in sight on the bench, in the stands or on the floor.
Similarly, at Timberline the masking situation was mixed. Some players wore them, others did not. Some in the stands wore them, others did not or wore them below the chin. Masking was not enforced and we even spy an unmasked coach….
Remember the comment from the placating response about “an abundance of caution”? Where is the “abundance of caution” for the secondary sports now? Why are the secondary athletes not required to mask? Why are the spectators at these events not required to mask especially at a BSD facility? Why was elementary basketball “postponed” when, at the time, secondary volleyball was proceeding as-planned? How did district administration not foresee that a shortened elementary season in the height of normal cold and flu season, with COVID in the mix, had a greater potential for disruption than just soldiering on last semester? The argument here isn’t that the secondary students and spectators should have to mask up because the elementary students have to, but rather that, since the secondary athletes and spectators don’t have to, no one should be required in an athletic or classroom setting.
Even last semester, when BSD athletes and spectators without masks were commonplace, cheerleaders and band members were still required to mask:
Practically the rest of the state is back to normal with the exception of BSD, two other Idaho districts and a handful of charter and private schools. Why does Boise continue to be more interested in checking the “safety” and “masks required” boxes than in serving their constituency and providing equal opportunity to all students and families?