Allow Soccer Fans at Boise Fields
Allow Soccer Fans at Boise Fields
Why this petition matters
Our children have now persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic for a full year. We are so proud of all the work they have put in not only to navigate shifts to online school, hybrid on-line/in-person school, illnesses, impacts to home and family, and the loss of many activities that they love. Sports play a significant and positive role in the mental and physical health for many of our kids. In recognition of that impact, the soccer clubs in Idaho have worked diligently to provide a sliver of normalcy and an outlet for their players throughout the year. To ensure the safety of their players, coaches, staff, families, and communities in which they play, each of the clubs have paid careful attention to the recommendations of state and local health authorities over the past year. They also cooperated with and supported the return-to-play protocols, including those implemented at Simplot Fields by the City of Boise during league play during the Fall season in 2020. They implemented mask protocols, sanitized equipment, limited the number of spectators, and distanced spectators from the fields to enhance safety of players, coaches, and referees.
Now as we embark upon the Spring season, the City of Boise has reversed course and inexplicably prohibited all spectators at Boise-owned fields, including Simplot Sports Complex and Optimist Fields. Games may be played, but no spectators are permitted—not even the parents of youth players and referees. Case counts are significantly lower, hospitalizations are down, and vaccinations are available for the most vulnerable in our communities. After consideration of all these same factors and consultation with medical experts, West Ada and Boise school districts have approved a return to full-time in-person learning this month. With the support of Governor Little and the Idaho State Board of Education, more fans have even been allowed to return to indoor sports venues with the continued use of masks and social distancing. Yet somehow the City of Boise reached the opposite conclusion for the used of its outdoor venues for youth sports.
Soccer has the clear advantage of being played outdoors, which we know carries a much lower risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus. The protocols in place during the Fall season incorporated best practices to continue to guard against this minimal risk and ensure the safety of all involved. There is no reason why these same protocols cannot be used effectively this Spring season to mitigate risk and allow parents to attend their childrens’ sporting events.
Let’s not also forget about the other safety considerations for our youth. The players range in age from as young as 5-6 up to 18. The vast majority cannot drive and are not comfortable being left alone without parents in that environment. As many parents can attest, much can happen during a soccer match, including injuries for which a coach cannot attend to without risking leaving many other children without a responsible adult. These are public parks and other strangers cannot effectively be blocked from the fields, some of whom could be dangerous. Warnings have been issued in the past to not leave your children unattended at public parks. The presence of other adults helps to manage these safety issues.
Throughout the pandemic we’ve all been asked to sacrifice so much for the good of our communities, but too often at the expense of our children. We ask the City of Boise to immediately revise its latest Public Health Order and permit spectators at outdoor youth sporting events. The season begins Saturday March 6th. Our children need and want their activities to continue with the support of their families.
Please sign this petition to show the City of Boise the level of support for our youth soccer players. THANK YOU!