Opinion

MCMURRY: School, sports are possible if we admit change and take charge of actions

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North Montgomery and Southmont returned to the classroom on Thursday, while Crawfordsville will start the same hybrid model on Monday morning. A new look for the county schools amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and an unprecedented start to the decade.

It will be different, but they are there as they need to be, and right behind them will be extracurricular activities including sports. 

As we’ve seen schools choose to go all virtual and sports across high school associations and college conferences call off the dogs, the debates locally have begun on whether or not it’s safe to return to school and sports. 

The Indiana High School Athletic Association admitted that a canceled season would allow AAU and travel sports to reign for current athletes, not to mention the lost revenue. 

I like my reasoning to press on here in rural west central Indiana a little more. 

The virus is not an immediate threat. 

Key word is immediate. We all know that can change in an instant, but I’ll get to that in a minute. 

Now before you go jumping down my throat about how I think the virus is fake, let me stop you right there.

A high school classmate of mine lost his mom before her 60th birthday due the virus. 

In early April I went to Ben Hur nursing home on assignment to take pictures of horses visiting residents to give encouragement.

Those same faces I photographed started popping up in the obituary section just a few weeks later.

Trust me, the coronavirus is very serious, and can be deadly. We should not write it off. 

But just like anything else I’ve written about, my stance is truly down the middle. 

And to me, do we really want to go down the alternative road of school and sports?

It was nearly five months between in-person classes for our students. 

Mentally and socially our students need to be in school and participating in clubs and sports after the school day. They crave attention from their classmates and teachers, and they have a strong desire for competition and bonding among teammates.

They won’t get that at home. Not because they physically can’t, but simply because many won’t. They won’t get the attention from their parents, and unlike some classmates, won’t have the opportunity to mingle outside their home. 

School is the best avenue for children to live a healthy lifestyle. 

No death in any student, teacher or faculty member is acceptable. 

But there’s a way to do this the right way. 

The students, teachers and principals are all doing their part to make this thing work, because they know the fate of the alternative road. 

My call to action is to the parents. How successful returning to sports and school is will depend on them

Be honest, be mindful, and do what’s best for the 400 other students your child is going to be around at school, not what’s best for your child or most convenient for you. 

My hope is that our superintendents and school boards along with the health department will continue to monitor the ever-changing situation and make decisions with the students best interest in heart.

This shouldn’t be about money. This has to be about the kids. 

For those that think the virus is just the flu, you must admit that it’s not. Man do I wish it was, but it’s just not. 

And for those of you who think we continue to hunker down, it’s time to admit that as we sit in present day in Montgomery County, we can do things such as school safely.

This will take a complete team effort.

But kids need school and they need activities. 

Now Let’s play ball.

Jared McMurry was born and raised in Montgomery County and is the Sports Editor of the Journal Review. He can be reached by email at jmcmurry@jrpress.com and by phone at 765-918-8656. Follow him on Twitter @jaredmac26

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