Stevens Point to suspend athletics and extracurricular activities

After months of making sure in person learning could happen, it was a decision the district felt they had to make.
Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 1:00 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Stevens Point Area Public School District will be suspending all fall athletics and extracurricular activities. The suspension will move fall athletics to the alternate fall season created by WIAA, with most sports beginning in late February - early March. The district made the announcement Thursday afternoon.

“As we have made decisions we have prioritized and focused on two main objectives: student and staff safety, and our ability to offer students in-person learning opportunities,” said superintendent Craig Gerlach. “At this time, we do not believe that holding these activities can be done in a safe manner and further, that moving forward with these activities puts our ability to offer in-person learning at risk.”

The suspension includes any and all extracurricular before and after school activities, practices, competitions and events. Extracurricular activities not governed by the WIAA will be assessed on a monthly basis and may resume when conditions allow.

“The competition, the physicalness of most of our sports, kind of contradicts or goes against what they’re (health experts) are preaching for safety,” said Michael Blair, SPASH’s athletic director.

“I think there’s also a sense of comfort, knowing that our school district made a decision that they believe is the best for our students, for our community,” SPASH Football head coach Pete McAdams.

The District stressed an understanding that the decision would be disappointing for students and families but shared that after extensively considering options, safety and needs, it was committed to protecting the health and safety of students, staff and families.

“Really (feeling) empathy,” said Blair. “To just kind of let them know that we understand there’s frustration. We understand that there’s disappointment.”

But after months of making sure in person learning could happen, it was a decision the district felt they had to make.

“If we would have to shut them down early because it was related to some outside activity such as athletics, and we’ve got to shut down elementary schools because we don’t have bus drivers because we had an outbreak for example, and we have second graders going back virtually to learn reading, shame on all of us,” Gerlach said.

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