RACINE — The Racine Unified School District says it is moving its fall sports to the spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While fall sports camps should be underway, student-athletes will have to wait until at least February to play the sports they’re used to playing now.
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“Any decision in this time is going to be tough,” Jack Klebesadel, RUSD Athletic Director said. “The safety and health of everybody involved is always the priority.”
Klebesadel says the decision to delay fall sports was the best option to protect the kids while still giving them an athletics season.
"We were talking, when you make a decision, you think about heart your mind and gut,” Klebesadel said. “Your heart wants these kids to be out here playing but they'll get the opportunity in the spring.”
Seven different fall sports will be moving to the spring including football, girls golf, girls tennis, girls swimming & diving, boys soccer, and both boys and girls cross country and volleyball.
The WIAA plan condenses the traditional winter and spring sports schedules to wedge the fall sports calendar in between. So now, fall sports will run between February and May.
Because of that, there likely won't be a traditional state champion in sports like football.
"You would have more of a regional type of a situation,” Wade Labecki, WIAA Deputy Director said. “And then a key for that is, you know, we don't want to bring people from all over the state right now into one community and risk was possibly having some infections.”
Labecki says despite low contact sports, like golf and tennis, not posing as big of an infection risk during play, the problem comes up for teams during transportation. A normal football team of 50 kids would pack a bus, shoulder to shoulder.
"It's more congested,” Labecki said. “So it's another piece that you may have to take two buses and I think that may be one of the considerations on some of our larger schools going into the spring because you don't have a lot of time to go ahead and try to solve some of those issues.”
As of now, schools in the Racine Unified School District are among 46 schools in the state that have decided to shift to the spring. But Klebesadel anticipates more dominoes will continue to fall for the betterment of the kids.
"You have the option of doing this in spring,” Klebesadel said. “We’re going to make a rewarding option. It may be better than starting in fall and shutting down out of nowhere because some breakout happens.”
Klebesadel says he expects other large area school districts will make similar decisions like Kenosha Unified and Milwaukee Public Schools.
While MPS has not made a decision yet, they released this statement:
“Milwaukee Public Schools continues to consider the dynamics of low to high contact sports and the ramifications of our student-athletes participating. However, we will not facilitate sports within the district until it is determined we can do so safely.”