Olivia Gaziano

District 204 is slowly bringing students back starting on Nov. 2 with the first half of the alphabet of juniors and seniors

Students divided over prospect of the return of sports

October 12, 2020

District 204 has been battling with the many opinions of going back to school versus staying remote. They recently released a statement offering a choice in either going back or staying, yet it still leaves students split between decisions.

Students should be able to enjoy their high-school experience in school

As a senior, my experience as a high schooler is ruined because of COVID-19. A time most of us have been thinking about since freshman year has to start with us in the house, behind a screen. We are incapable of getting the full high school experience the way we are now. Our last time walking into school for the first time, our last time freezing at football games, our last time cheering in enormous crowds all ruined and all gone because we are not allowed to go back to school. The people who are taking it the worst are the athletes.

High school athletes have many scholarship opportunities especially considering the sport they play. For example, football players could easily get a full-ride scholarship to a certain college, if they perform well enough at their game. Many rely on their athleticism to get them through to their life career in that sport.

In US News, it states “Outright cancellation of some high school sports this fall will mean the loss of a year of playing time, which will also mean less game film for potential recruits and fewer opportunities to impress college coaches and set themselves apart in a competitive marketplace of talented athletes.” Canceling the fall sport is a big detriment to not only the students but also the colleges recruiting them.

As for losing the high school experience, staying home behind the computer is not only painfully boring but it could also be hard for students to stay motivated and focused. Furthermore, school is not the only thing on their list. They could be taking care of other siblings’ necessities of learning at home on top of the duties at school while parents are at work. Online learning puts more strain on children with busy households, making it even harder to keep their motivation when they have to be a student and a guardian as a teenager.

A CNN article has stated “Learning at home could also mean that some children may feel disproportionate disadvantages. Some only have school as a safe place to be. Some just can’t focus on a screen for hours at a time.”

I, obviously, can see why some students would want to stay home. It is comfortable, you are in your own safe zone, and you do not have to interact with people. Also, it is less likely for you to be around others with COVID-19. However, those interactions that students may fear will likely build them to become a better student, better communicator, and an overall better person in the future.

We want to take back everything fun about highschool. COVID-19 had the displeasure from stealing right under our fingertips. Students going back to school with proper regulations and restraints can be beneficial to the athletes, students, and parents in more ways than one. Yes, we are still in a global pandemic, but there are other ways other than remote learning to prevent the spread. High schoolers want our high school experience back.

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The dangers of coronavirus make high school sports dangerous and inconsequential

As of Oct. 7, according to the New York Times, there have been about 211,000 deaths from COVID-19 in America. This is enough to fill 73 Metea-sized high schools. The lives that are lost include people who had children and grandchildren. People who had been married for fifty years and people who had never been married and, due to the virus, would never get the chance to. People who lived in houses with school photos of their children from every year lined up on well-worn bookshelves. People who lived in apartment rooms where a dog waited for them at the foot of the bed. The amount of deaths that this pandemic has spurred in America is equivalent to if there were a 9/11 attack every morning for 70 days. The toll of COVID-19 is unimaginable

Naturally, however, it appears that this grim reality is being ignored in favor of what is, apparently, a much more pressing matter: high school sports.

It is true that studies suggest that children and teens are less susceptible to coronavirus than adults. However, that does not mean there are no consequences if a youth becomes infected with the virus. Sports, especially high school hallmarks such as football which rely on being in close contact with others, could be potential superspreader events, and there are more impacts the virus could have than the simple statistics of who is and is not infected.

For one thing, children and teenagers live with other people, who could be much more at risk than they are. How many of you are reading this life with your grandparents? Parents, even? Do you know if they have preexisting conditions? Do you know if they will be safe with the virus? After all, you live under the same roof and the virus travels through the air. If you catch it, they will likely catch it too. Would you be willing to risk your family’s health to participate in a high school sport? If your parents or grandparents got coronavirus from you because you insisted you simply needed to get out of the house and play your high school sport, how would you feel? Would you be satisfied? Would you be happy? Would it be worth it? 

Also, we do not know the full extent of COVID’s effects, especially in the long term. We have only known this strain of coronavirus for less than a year. We do not know what havoc it could further wreck on those who have been infected. For example, think of chickenpox. Many get it as an adolescent for a few days, and all it leaves is temporary red spots on the body and itchiness. But when someone who had the virus as a child enters their middle age, it comes back with a vengeance as shingles. According to Mayo Clinic, imaging tests taken months after recovery reveal that the heart muscle receives lasting damage after the body has coronavirus, even in those with mild symptoms. This could increase the risk of heart failure in the future. 

Pneumonia that COVID-19 is linked to causes long-lasting scar tissue and damage to the alveoli (tiny air sacs) in the lungs- such scarring. In other cases, it is known to cause long-term breathing processes. And just wait until we get to what it does to your brain! Even in young patients, coronavirus has been reported by Nature and Mayo Clinic to cause strokes, seizures, memory loss, brain hemorrhages,  and a condition that can cause temporary paralysis. It may also increase the risk of diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s later in life. There are even reports of the virus causing psychosis. And remember: these symptoms are happening to young people like you and me. People who probably wanted to play their high school sports, too. But guess what? You cannot play football when you are having a stroke brought on by COVID-19. Do you really want to risk this? All for a game for a high school?

According to the NCAA (National College Athletic Association), only 2.9% of high school football players make it to college sports. A 2015 Florida Atlantic University study found that only 1% of friendships manage to last all four years of high school- and, presumably, when people move away to college, that percentage of lasting friendships becomes even lower. High school is four years in your life- that’s a mere blip of time when one considers the average human lifespan is about seventy-nine years. When you are at your career job in twenty years, will you still be parading the fact that you were on the Metea soccer team when you were fifteen years old? I know that scholarships are important, but colleges will likely find other ways to create scholarship opportunities. More importantly, a scholarship does not take precedence over the lives of you and your family. Sure, the scholarship is great- but is Grandma dying of COVID due to being exposed to you worth that tuition discount? Is the sport so important that you are willing to risk your and your family’s well-being for it? 

After all, I have heard, you can always do sports later in life once the pandemic begins to pass.

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