Parents pushing for fall sports

DOVER — Some parents of high school athletes aren’t giving up on seeing their kids play sports this fall.

A group has organized a rally for Saturday in Dover to get that message out.

The rally is slated for 11 a.m. in front of Legislative Hall.

As things stand now, high school sports in Delaware aren’t supposed to start until December due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Condensed seasons in winter, fall and spring sports would then be played, running through June.

But a Facebook group known as Delaware HS Athlete Parents wants fall sports to be played in the fall — perhaps starting in October. The group is listed asa having 3,300 members.

The group organizer, Kelly Klerlein Boettcher, has also been encouraging members to contact state legislators.

“Anybody that will hear us is kind of where we are taking it,” said the mother of two Caravel senior student-athletes. “We have a couple senators that we’re speaking to and they’re on our side.”

The DIAA board of directors is scheduled to meet again on Sept. 10.

“Our goal is basically to go into that meeting and say ‘Come up with a new plan,’” said Klerlein Boettcher.

“All my argument is a choice,” she added. “Let the kids choose for in-school or out-of-school learning. Let kids choose for sports or stay out of sports. We have not been given any choices.”

The Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association has already agreed to the condensed sports plan. The state Board of Education also approved it.

At a Tuesday press conference, Gov. John Carney reiterated that he believes the sports of football and wrestling continue to be problematic because of their potential for spreading the virus.

“I don’t know how you do it safely,” he said about football. “I don’t know how you do the line play safely when these guys are a foot or two apart, banging heads together on every play.

“Wrestling, I don’t know as much about it. But it looks like they’re awful close and entangled with one another for extended period of time. Again, I’m not sure how you do that.”

Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health, said the state is working on some new guidelines, especially looking at contact sports. She did say there are some “non-compliance” concerns with youth sports, which have been going on this summer.

But Rattay also said that getting student-athletes back out competing is important.

“Obviously we’re huge advocates for youth sports,” she said. “From a public health perspective, we see tremendous benefits — mental and physical health benefits of youth activities, youth sports. Frankly, a lot of kids have been sitting around inside the house and haven’t been moving their bodies as much as they need for the past six months.”