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COVID-19 Student-Athlete’s Mother Shares Her Experience

July 27, 2020 / Athletic Administration
In a recent story with FlaglerLive.com, a mother of a Matanzas High School (FL) student-athlete who tested positive for COVID-19 wrote down her experiences from her perspective to offer advice on dealing with the virus.

The story was released following Matanzas principal Jeff Reaves informing the student body and parents that one of its student-athletes had tested positive. In response, the school board will be voting to delay the school’s opening to August 24 while announcing the indefinite postponement of fall sports.

Below is an excerpt from the mother’s first-person experience.

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PHOTO: Courtesy of HBO

“Let me clarify for the record once and for all: my son did not likely contract the COVID-19 virus at his football conditioning workouts. Matanzas’s coaching staff has always maintained strict adherence to temperature checks, social distancing, separate waters, no shared equipment, no contact, in keeping with district guidelines. Simply put, the days or the circumstances don’t add up to an infection during conditioning, according to the health department’s contact tracers,” the mother said. “It was out of an abundance of caution that the coach and team were notified that he was being tested, and ultimately tested positive.

Right now in every household, community, and state throughout the United States, everyone with kids is grappling with the decision of whether or not they will be safe returning to school. The decision cannot be taken lightly. We have to consider whether certain members of households would survive if they were to get infected with COVID-19. I can only speak for my family when I say how tough this decision is because I am high risk. This decision has been tougher for me because my son is going to be a senior. I can’t just say to him: “Stay home now and hopefully there will be a vaccine and you can go back next year.” There is no next year. This is it. This is his final year to cement his GPA and to showcase his athletic talent for a chance for a college scholarship.

Imagine for a moment what all the junior and senior student-athletes are feeling. Most of them started playing their sports when they were 4 or 5 years old. Over the years they have sacrificed going to birthday parties, they’ve stayed up late on weekends, they’ve eaten junk food (sometimes), and as in my son’s case, they’ve sustained many stitches and injuries. As parents of student-athletes, we packed in our car for long road trips, spent tons of dollars on lessons, equipment, road-food, physicals, admission fees, and we spent hours upon hours in several types of weather to give our kids a shot to play, and hopefully a chance to get noticed for a college scholarship,” the mother said. “As the decisions are being made regarding our return to school and with Fall sports on the table, please don’t forget to consider all that they have sacrificed.

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Instead, let’s adopt a strategy to reduce the spread. In my opinion–and now, unfortunately, my experience–we cannot take half measures to prevent catching or passing this virus. We need as a town and a district a firm mask mandate that is strictly enforced. We cannot merely “strongly encourage” our kids to wear masks at school, at least in middle and high school. Frankly, many students don’t have the wherewithal to determine if they are socially distanced. We can’t accept our sheriff’s position that the mandates that have been adopted are “unenforceable.” Other cities and counties are enforcing mandates, and the evidence is clear that mandates are reducing the spread.”

To read the full story from FlaglerLive, click here