Sherrard School Board
In a special meeting Nov. 4, the Sherrard School Board voted 4-3 to allow students to play basketball with IHSA, Illinois High School Association.
Superintendent Alan Boucher said though the vote was split, he believes everyone is on the same page, “All of us understand that athletics is a very important part of a child’s school experience. It impacts grades, it impacts graduation rates, it impacts mental health. At the same time, we know it’s not the end all-be all."
The board went back and forth discussing the matter from every angle.
“The board is committed to keeping in mind the needs of the students. There are a lot of mental health issues that go into being a student…
At the same time we want them to be good citizens and follow the leadership of the state and the government. In this particular instance, these ideas are conflicting with one another. The board had a good healthy conversation,” said Boucher.
Following the outcome, Sherrard High School Principal Tim Wernentin said he supports the decision, “I support giving the kids the opportunity to have as normal a basketball season as possible - while abiding by all necessary, appropriate safety precautions.”
School Board member and senior student parent Dan Helm voted in favor of having a season, “Last year’s senior class lost a lot… This year’s senior class stands to lose virtually everything at this point.”
Remote learners can play too, according to Activities Director Michael Applegate, “We do temperature checks before practice for everybody.” Applegate said IHSA guidelines include extensive sanitization protocols including: gym capacity of 50 or less, basketballs used during warm-ups and game play must be cleaned and sanitized between uses, the host school should switch balls during full time-outs and between quarters and sanitize the ball taken out of play, face coverings and off-court social distancing must be adhered to.
He said since players will be wearing masks during the contest a ‘media time-out’ will be taken each quarter at the first dead ball under the five minute mark for players to have a mask/water break.
Now the hope is that other schools in the conference will follow suit.
“I’ve had many schools reach out that are on the fence. I’m giving them my board’s thoughts… Once those schools have committed we can fill out a new schedule - We’re hoping as many local schools as possible can compete," said Applegate.
“It’s all worth it for the kids. Just like in-person learning has been very difficult, but it’s what the kids have needed and they’re better for it,” he said.