School Board votes 3-2 to not have a summer season

By: 
Les Houser

Following a special Board of Education meeting at noon this past Tuesday, the Eagle Grove district will not be fielding softball or baseball teams for this summer.

All members were present for the video meeting, with director Robinson joining by phone. Toliver outlined the matter at hand, which was that if we are going to play we need to decide today so practices can move forward. If not, then other teams need to be informed.

Athletic Director Rich Thacker stated that practices would start as soon as permission is given by the Board. He stated that currently, softball would have a 14 game schedule for varsity and JV and baseball an 11 game schedule for both. There would also be seven JJV games played. The only Top of Iowa-West team that had thus far decided not to have a season this year was Belmond-Klemme. “We will social distance as much as possible,” said Thacker. Once the games start, the ballpark entrance would be closed off. Spectators would only be allowed along the fence lines, practicing distancing as well, and the bleachers would be closed off as well. “If any player tests positive at any point, the entire team would be quarantined,” said Thacker. “That would likely end our season right there.” He stated that one coach (Jim McLaughlin) is quarantined now, while three others are waiting for results of tests.

Jordan Miller (baseball coach) feels transportation safety is his main concern. “Also exposure for everyone,” said Miller. “It’s scary right now when it’s right on our front door.” 

Toliver stated that we do have bus drivers willing to make the road trips. “We will also work with families that don’t want their kids to ride the bus,” he said. McLaughlin was concerned about the rule of no water bottles allowed on the bus. “If we do play, if a player is uncomfortable with it they shouldn’t be playing,” he said. 

The directors were then given a chance to ask any questions they had. “Could someone here play for another team, if we don’t have a team?” asked Crail. Thacker responded that he’s heard rumors to that affect, and thinks the state will make a ruling on that at some point. “It could be a temporary open enrollment waiver for the summer, I don’t know for sure,” he said. Toliver pointed out that it would be a tough issue, because if too many from kids want to come onto any certain team that could throw them into a different class.

“What about restrooms?” asked director Robinson. Thacker said there would be a row of porta-potties for the teams, but that spectators will be on their own as the concession/restroom building will be locked up. Toliver then asked for one of two motions, to either play or not to play. Robinson made a motion to not participate this summer, which received a second. That opened the meeting for other questions and discussion for the directors.

Director Schope asked how do things look moving forward for other events, like Commencement, if there’s no season? Director Parrott, who also tested positive and is in quarantine but was asymptomatic, said “We’re sitting on at least 200 test results to come back, and there may be more. It’s a difficult decision, but what’s best for our kids and community right now?” “Parents will have to help their child make the right decision (to play or not),” said director Rowen. “We’re trying to do everything as safely as possible.” Schope wondered if there was any feedback from other area AD’s or coaches that plan to play. Both head coaches agreed that “excitement is high to get out there and play ball.” Toliver stated his biggest fear was that if we vote to play, and then someone tests positive and that takes four or five others out too, do we continue to play?

The vote was called for by Rowen, and it was 3-2 to cancel the summer sports season for both teams.

 

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