Middletown school parents will have to now sign waivers declaring “an assumption of risk and waiver of liability related to communicable diseases/COVID-19,” said school officials.
The board vote was a difficult decision, said President Chris Urso.
“These are difficult times with difficult decisions. Everything we do is essentially a gamble,” Urso said. “We’re a walking, talking science experiment but we trust our parents.”
The Middletown football program can begin 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.
Football, as well as other practices for boys and girls sports, resumed Tuesday afternoon after the district’s remote-learning school day was completed.
Still in place, Middletown officials stressed, are state officials’ orders limiting spectators at all fall prep games for both boys and girls sports. Only immediate family members can attend.
Fellow board member Todd Moore said the board’s reversal, which came after some athletes and parents 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.
Among those students impacted are more than 550 athletes at Middletown High School and Middletown Middle School, which share a campus, and more than 100 members of the high school’s marching band.
Marlon Styles Jr., superintendent of the 6,300-student Middletown Schools, said after the board vote “I’m jumping for joy for our athletes, marching band and our show choir.”
“I appreciate the board’s courage,” said Styles.