Middletown Schools’ governing board voted unanimously Monday night to reverse its late July decision to shut down all fall sports and other after-school activities due to fears over the spread of coronavirus.
Board members spoke of their continued concerns but said the emotional and social needs of students who participate in fall sports, marching bands, show choir and other activities was paramount.
But even as Middletown Board of Education President Chris Urso lobbied fellow members during a board business meeting shown live on Facebook, he and others expressed their reservations.
“We’re taking a gamble here,” said Urso, who advocated school parents in the 6,300-student district as the best deciders on whether their children should play football and other sports and activities.
“We’re now a walking, talking science experiment but we trust our parents,” he said referring to school parents closely monitoring and reporting the health of their children participating in extracurricular activities.
The popular Middletown High School football program can again plan on playing opponents in the Greater Miami Conference (GMC), said school officials.
Middletown’s first football game is away on Sept. 4 at GMC opponent Fairfield High School.
And the high school’s marching band can perform at football game halftimes but not in band competitions, said school officials.
Still in place, Middletown officials stressed, are state officials’ orders limiting spectators at all fall prep boys and girls games. Only immediate family members can attend, according to the state mandates.
Fellow board member Todd Moore said the board’s reversal, which came after some athletes and parents recently lobbied school officials, was the right course.
“Parents want to be the ones who make decisions about what is best for their kids,” said Moore.
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