MEDFORD, Ore. — With in-person learning now back on the table, the Medford School Board is lobbying Governor Brown, state health officials, and the OSAA for a return to school sports and other activities.
After voting to approve the action at a February 4 meeting, the Medford School District Board of Education released a letter urging officials to allow for athletics and other extracurricular activities to resume.
The board members wrote that Oregon stands nearly alone in avoiding high school sports this late into the 2020-21 school year, citing the National Federation of State High School Associations in saying that Oregon is among only three states that have yet to play at all this year.
"We have received dozens of letters with heartfelt pleas from families who are deeply worried for the mental health and wellbeing of their children without these opportunities," the School Board wrote. "We appreciate our state’s continued dedication to 'follow the science”'and keep our communities safe. We believe following science should now lead to lifting some of the restrictions on athletics and activities, following in the footsteps of our neighbors in Washington State."
The Board asserted that Medford has demonstrated it can be effective in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in schools, due to ongoing limited in-person instruction.
"Our families have expressed their willingness to sign liability waivers, if that were necessary, to get their children back on the playing field, on the court, and on stage," the Board concluded. "Please continue to follow the science and look to other states who are successfully allowing students to play and perform (with safety measures in place) for our students have lost too much already. It’s time to let them play and perform!"
Medford's plan to gradually reintegrate in-person learning is set to begin late this month, though high school does not begin until the end of March.