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Op-Ed Our WCSD Student Athletes Need Our Voice

Op-Ed provided by Sean McCaffrey, a candidate finalist for the latest WCSD District C Board of Trustees appointment. Mr. McCaffrey is passionate about change within WCSD. He worked closely with the district in leadership positions with the Washoe Education Foundation and Education Alliance.

The Athlete Covid Testing Debacle

The WCSD School Board of Trustees continue to shield behind the Governor’s mandates. Our student athletes are subjected to mask policies, mandatory Covid testing, and exclusions from the classroom and playing field when one teammate tests positive. Nearly a dozen high school football programs had to cancel games as hundreds of student athletes were excluded from attending school these last couple of weeks. Student athletes testing negative were denied an education as schools were not prepared for distance learning options and our kids had nothing to work on. To have negative Covid testing kids forced to adhere to the same protocol as kids who test positive? How does it make sense to punish our kids because they trust their own immune system? When Superintendent McNeill was asked at a recent board meeting about the exclusion policy and education options for those student athletes impacted, she responded that each school has the autonomy to determine their best course of action. Once again, our school district was caught flat footed. What did we learn from last year’s education model? If you remember in March, the Board agreed to reopen middle/high schools to 75% of their enrollment capacity, yet instead of setting a universal policy, they left the decision up to each principal on how best to implement. That one-off, school-based decision making created inequity then and this current ruling perpetuates it now.

Flaccid District Leadership

At a recent meet-and-greet with newly appointed District C Board Member, Joe Rodriguez, and At-Large Board Member, Diane Nicolet, student athletes and their family members requested reviews of these policies and spoke out in favor of improvement to these policies. The Board members cited NIAA rules and indicated their hands were tied. What is the point of having a Board if they’re going to accept policies that negatively impact the population they were elected to serve?

Help Save These Athletes From Bad Policy

I am pleased to report there is good work being done behind the scenes on behalf of our kids. Coach Rob Hummel, Head Varsity Football Coach at Spanish Springs High School, has drafted a revised testing/exclusion policy that has been endorsed by the NIAA. This policy is currently being reviewed by WCSD Administration. This revised policy is designed to mitigate the mass exclusions we have encountered recently. The NIAA doesn’t want mass exclusions, the coaching staffs around the district do not want mass exclusions, and student athletes and their families do not want mass exclusions. If each of these groups are in favor of a policy change, one would think our WCSD leadership would make this a priority. Our kids have a shelf life to adulthood. They have had so much taken from them these last 18 months, especially in our state. Every day not in school is a day they’ll never have back again. Every sports season missed is a sports season they’ll never have returned to them. As parents, we have a responsibility to our kids to ensure they have every opportunity to be successful in the classroom and on the sports field. It is our responsibility to advocate for them. If you’re a parent of a student athlete, please call and/or email your school administration and your Board of Trustees to ensure this new policy is adopted.

Sean McCaffrey

Proud parent of a high school student athlete

To learn how to speak out on this issue and make your voice heard with the WCSD Board of here.

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