KCK school board votes to suspend fall sports

The Kansas City, Kansas, Board of Education tonight voted to suspend fall KSHSAA sports.

It was another casualty of COVID-19.

In her motion, board member Janey Humphries said that during the past few years she has seen the value that parents and students place on participating in sports and seen the joy on the faces of the students. She knows how much sports means to kids.

“I also believe the health and safety of our students come first,” Humphries said. “That is my first priority, the health and safety of our students. I am concerned about keeping them safe in this environment.”

She said there is contact in sports and there is no way to keep football, soccer and volleyball players from coming into contact with each other.

Dr. Stacey Yeager, a board member, said it was important for kids to get out there and play and have athletics. She said she believed the students should be allowed to follow a modified sports schedule.

The action comes at a time when several college athletic conferences are canceling the fall sports season, also.

“We’re not trying to kill sports or students’ futures,” Dr. Valdenia Winn, a board member said. Safety is the main concern, she said. She said higher education institutions will be making provisions for athletes during these times.

The vote was 5-2 on the motion by Humphries, with Humphries, Yolanda Clark, Randy Lopez, Wanda Brownlee Paige, and Valdenia Winn voting yes, while Maxine Drew and Stacey Yeager voted no. The vote was on Aug. 11 at a Zoom meeting.

The motion specifically stated “KSHSAA fall sports,” including sports under the Kansas State High School Activities Association.

The board members noted that with the wording, “suspend,” it left a little room open for a later decision.

Tammie Romstad, the district’s athletic director, went over some of the guidelines from the KSHSAA for restarting sports. The state organization had many modifications in place to make the sports safer.

Limited crowd sizes, physical distancing while on the sidelines, masks, no handshakes, temperature checks, more space between lockers and other KSHSAA safety precautions will be in place.

Romstad said the district had been meeting with local public health officials about guidelines they are expected to issue soon concerning high school sports.

Later in the meeting, the school board was scheduled to go into a closed, executive session, to discuss coaches’ contracts with its attorney.

According to the school district’s website, the board voted to honor supplemental contracts that have been entered into, whether or not the sports seasons are suspended or not.

The district’s website stated that the sports will include: football, volleyball, cross country, girls tennis and boys soccer. The vote also suspends marching band and spirit squad. However, band will remain as a class option for students, but there will be no performances.

The school district had previously decided that the first nine weeks of the fall semester will be remote education.

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