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Wichita student-athletes get back to practice after fall sports reinstated

Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 6:09 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - With fall sports back on for teams in the Wichita public school district, student-athletes across the city restarted practice Wednesday afternoon. Tuesday night (Sept. 1), the Wichita Public Schools Board of Education, in a 6-1 decision, greenlit fall sports to happen with some restrictions that include remote-learning guidance and the disallowance of spectators.

At football practices, coaches in the Greater Wichita Athletic League (City League) are continuing with safety measures they implemented over the summer. This includes wiping down every piece of equipment. They also don’t allow players to get into locker rooms without wearing masks, having their temperatures checked and taking a health-related questionnaire, asking if they’ve felt sick.

Players say the measures are worth it to get the opportunity to play. It’s an opportunity many feared losing after the school board previously approved a school reopening plan that called for remote starts for middle and high-school students for the first nine weeks of the school year and with that, the cancelation of fall sports and activities.

Wichita South High School senior football player Jordan Huggins said the last couple of weeks has been torture and he’s thankful the district is allowing him to play his final high school season.

“It means a lot. Sports are like stress relievers,” Huggins said. “It helps kids, you know, escape from their homes and have something else to do.”

Following the school board’s meeting Tuesday in which the vote came to reinstate fall sports, coaches said they’re excited to get things going.

“Once the news came through, my wife was laughing about it because my phone started blowing up with messages from players saying, ’hey, we’re ready, time to get to work,’” Wichita South High School Head Football Coach Russ Wells said.

Students involved in sports aren’t the only ones impacted by the Wichita school board’s recent decisions. With “lower-risk-category” activities like choir, band, drama and orchestra, spectators are still not allowed at concerts or contests. A representative with the Wichita school district said teachers and directors may be considering virtual concerts for parents to watch.

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