Allow high school aged student-athletes to re-engage in the District of Columbia.

Allow high school aged student-athletes to re-engage in the District of Columbia.

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Sheree C started this petition to Mayor Bowser

On behalf of the undersigned coaches, parents and student-athletes representing traditional public, public charter, parochial and private schools we ask that you please lift the suspension of high school age related activities currently in place re Mayor’s Order 2020-123.  Most coaches have not had the opportunity to re-engage with their student-athletes since the pandemic began last March and for many of our student-athletes’ coaches are the primary adult in their lives.

High School sports play a vital role in our student-athletes’ lives. Involvement in high school sports have been closely tied to improved test scores, higher GPA and less truancy. Since the suspension of high school age related activities here in the District, we are seeing a decline in attendance and an overall increase in student-athletes who do not meet the minimum 2.0 GPA requirement.

Student-athletes need extracurricular activities to help them stay focused on lifelong goals. Without athletics our student-athletes are left with too many hours of idle time, which can lead to poor and life altering decisions.  Families are deciding to relocate to other jurisdictions because they want to compete in the extracurricular activities that have been a part of the school experience for many years here in the District.

Nationally, 44 states across the country are playing high school sports.  The District is the only state jurisdiction on the east coast that is not allowing high school sports to take place.  Locally, our northern Virginia suburbs and counties are playing high school sports and have been doing so since December.  Football practice started Thursday, February 4th for Virginia high school student athletes.  Montgomery County is scheduled to begin Fall Sports on February 27th with Prince George’s County to follow.  Our student-athletes are losing out on scholarship opportunities and for many of these students’, athletics is their only way to realistically finance their pathway to college.

We are also concerned about our student’s mental health.  Studies have shown that student-athletes are depressed over losing their opportunities to engage in athletics and some have even died by suicide due to depression attributed to the loss of athletics. For many of our student-athletes’ their coach is the primary adult in their life.  We need to re-engage with them. 

This pandemic has also highlighted the socioeconomic divide present within our high school athletic community.  If a student-athlete has the financial means and/or recognizable talent, they are more than likely participating in high school age related activities today, outside of our jurisdiction.  Then there are those student-athletes who have no opportunities to engage with their coach, participate in skill development drills, practice or play simply because they do not have financial means nor recognizable athletic talent.  Our student-athletes have been engaging with each other outside of the athletic setting regularly. Allowing coaches in the District of Columbia to re-engage with their student-athletes will permit us to model and encourage COVID-safe behavior on and off the field. 

We believe that our DC Sports Medicine Advisory Committee in coordination with the DC State Athletic Association has put together a comprehensive guidance document that will help coaches, student-athletes and athletic trainers mitigate the risks associated with the COVID-19 virus. 

Please lift the suspension of high school aged related activities in the District of Columbia.  Our student-athletes need us.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!