Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Touchdown! WRHS, Carey Athletes Score Opportunity to Play Post-Season
Wednesday, October 14, 2020



The Carey School Panthers are rated No. 3 in the nation—their highest ranking in school history.

But the kids have been on pins and needles for more than a week, wondering if they would get the opportunity to defend their state championship and, possibly, make a case as the No. 1 team in the nation.


That’s why many of the youngsters and their parents made the 45-minute drive to Hailey Tuesday evening to try to convince the school board to let them play.

Upwards of a hundred Carey and Wood River High School students staged a peaceful protest outside the BCSD school office in Hailey Tuesday night, pressing for the opportunity for let Carey High School and WRHS athletes play through postseason.

"Let us play. Let us play," they chanted.

“We’re not taking away from the reality of the virus,” said Teresa Smith, noting the mental and emotional stress the waiting has taken on the kids. “But every day we take risks. We feel the kids should get the chance to play when everything else is open.”

Smith’s son quarterbacks the Panthers, who are defending the state championship. They want to do it again. Her daughter plays for the Panther volleyball team, which also has a good chance to compete at state.

And, Smith noted, Carey has had few cases of the virus.

A committee headed up by WRHS Athletic Director Kevin Stilling constructed a proposal that would have allowed local athletic teams to compete with schools from counties considered in the red, or critical risk, category, according to the Harvard Global Health Institute metrics that the school district follows. Some of those schools might be in the orange, or high-risk-category, according to South Central Public Health District metrics.

But trustees voted the proposal down 2-1. They revisited it Tuesday night during a regular board meeting.

Trustee Amber Larna, who cast the sole "yes" vote earlier, went to bat for the kids: “The kids are not the super spreaders. We are. Give them a chance. They’re willing to give up so much…for these games.”

Trustee Lara Stone voted "nay," as she did earlier. But Dan Turner reversed his vote, voting "yes."

“I’m kind of wanting to try it with the ability to shut it down if it’s not working. We’ll be living with this for some time. If we can ease into it…” he said.

Board Chairman Keith Roark, who did not vote on the issue earlier, noted that the WRHS football team was quarantined for 14 days after a positive case.

“If we’re going to make decisions from now until the end of the year based on what others are doing, whether they’re going to bars or revival meetings, we will not be well-served,” he said. “The question is how do we balance the risks we’re facing against sacrifices our students and teachers have to make?”

Then, he cast a vote in favor of allowing the kids to participate in post-season play.

“But I want to make it clear,” he added. “If it doesn’t work, if one athlete or one parent comes back positive with COVID-19, we’ll shut it down.”






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