Most Youth Sports Allowed To Kick Off Next Week In St. Louis County
Updated at 5 p.m. with additional public health statistics
Most student-athletes in St. Louis County will don their school colors again, as they’ll be able to start competing against teams from other schools starting next week.
All middle school sports and some high school competitions will be allowed to resume Monday, County Executive Sam Page said Wednesday morning, although high school football is most notably excluded. A limited number of spectators will be allowed to watch those games or races.
For older teenagers and high school sports, only “moderate-contact” athletics will be permitted. So soccer and baseball are a go, football and basketball are not.
Over the summer, Page curtailed youth sports, such as summer baseball, as COVID-19 cases among teenagers spiked. He eased restrictions slightly earlier this month, allowing practices to resume in small groups, but no mingling with teams from other schools or towns was permitted.
Prohibiting games angered parents and coaches. Page got an earful from a wide variety of people. There have been protests outside Page’s home and a deluge of comments at county council meetings. He was even sued.
On Wednesday, Page promised to figure out how to allow football and, eventually, basketball to happen: “We are actively working on a path forward that might include competitive games for those sports later this fall.”
The downward trend of coronavirus cases in the county and among teens will have to continue a little while longer, Page said.
Some school administrators had already grown frustrated with Page’s rules and aren’t willing to wait any longer.
Rockwood and Parkway, two large west county districts, have made moves to circumvent Page’s restrictions by announcing they’ll let their teams play games outside St. Louis County. Parkway football players will have their first Friday night game Oct. 2.
“We want to give our student-athletes an opportunity to compete,” said Parkway Athletic Director Mike Roth.
Roth said Parkway will be able to salvage a four-game season before playoffs begin. Games will have limited spectators and no concessions.
More than 20 student-athletes in the county have contracted COVID-19 in recent weeks, according to a county health department spokesperson. The department has found five “clusters” of transmission but did not say which teams have been impacted. Most of Kirkwood’s football team had to isolate back in July following a player’s positive test, according to Five On Your Side.
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