So, the plan is for five months of “remote learning.”
Five months of students logging in, listening to live instruction from teachers through a desktop/laptop/tablet/phone monitor, and doing hours of work on their own.
Yeah, good luck with that.
On the other hand, it’s tough to really criticize the action Baltimore County Public Schools are taking. It’s trying to keep everyone as safe as possible from the COVID-19 pandemic.
As I’ve written before, I’m sure the county school system fears — and justly so — that if it brings students back to schools and some get sick and — God forbid — die, there will be wave after wave of lawsuits.
But how much longer can all this continue? Wear face masks. Practice social distances. Wash hands frequently and disinfect surfaces. But you can’t just shut down civilization.
We keep hearing Baltimore County has had a spike in infections. But how many of those new cases result in hospitalizations? How many lead to death?
You have to dig for those numbers. Hospitalizations in Baltimore County had been steadily dropping before increasing a bit in July.
Ah, I’m no medical expert. I’m just a guy looking at stats. So let’s move on to my primary concern: the impact on sports.
To start: nothing happens without approval from the MPSSAA. So the fate of Baltimore County high school sports isn’t completely in the county’s hands.
But say the MPSSAA does give the go-ahead. Baltimore County’s decision to have remote learning until January 29 makes a fall and winter sports season unlikely.
The official word from the county is the fall and winter seasons are “postponed” while it explores other options.
The NJCAA has moved its fall season to the spring. That could be an option. And it would lead to one wild final three months of the school year.
Yes, when weighed against the risks and dangers of a pandemic, worrying about sports can appear frivolous.
But sports, particularly high school sports, are important.
For starters, I can guarantee if there are no fall and winter sports seasons, the school system is going to lose kids.
Many students use sports as incentive and motivation to stay in school and keep their grades up to remain eligible. That’s not a criticism; that’s a positive.
Without sports, how many students will lose interest in sticking to that remote learning schedule?
Local high school teams bring together communities. The resurgence of the Dundalk football team over the last decade, highlighted by the state finals appearance in the M&T Bank Stadium in 2015, has brought large crowds to the Owls stadium on fall Friday nights.
And you should see the crowds of devout fans who follow Sparrows Point teams on the road in the postseason.
Jonathan Wynne is the new Pointer girls soccer coach, eager to get back on the field after their streak of six consecutive state titles was broken last year.
“[If there’s no fall season] I’ll be extremely disappointed for our seniors and their friends and families,” Wynne said. “We have a wonderful group of student-athletes who have committed three years to the program, to the classroom and to their community.
“I know how badly they and their teammates want to play this fall. And I know our coaching staff was excited to get started.”
Again, the ultimate decision rests with the state and whether or not the “Roadmap to Recovery” reaches Phase 3. For now, we wait.
But I’m telling you, there’s no way I can go a fall without high school football. I’ll end up hospitalized.
* * *
Throughout this whole pandemic, I’ve been defending the media’s role. Makes sense, me being a member of the media and all.
But I keep reading stories in major media outlets describing how COVID-19 has made a “resurgence” in July, with speculation mainly centering on how states “relaxed” restrictions too soon.
Not a freaking word, not a darn syllable about other actions that have been taking place in June and July that possibly could have contributed to the spread of the virus.
Actions involving thousands of people packed tightly together in the streets night after night, rarely practicing any form of protection against infection.
People notice this sort of thing. And it causes them to doubt the credibility of the media ignoring it, and the credibility of the “medical experts” who say protesters/rioters aren’t vulnerable to infection.
Now, if two months of people packing the streets for “protests” all over the country had not led to a n increase in infections, that would have led to people wondering “why do our lives have to remain shut down?” (hence the protesters aren’t vulnerable nonsense).
But it turns out cases are increasing. So maybe it’s time to blame the right people for extending the pandemic and further wrecking our lives.