Students, parents rally for fall sports on eve of crucial vote in Montgomery County

Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Students, parents rally for fall sports on eve of crucial vote in Montgomery County
FALL SPORTS VOTE: Parents and students are rallying on the eve of a crucial vote on fall sports in Montgomery County, Pa.

SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- On the eve of a crucial fall sports vote by the school board in Springfield Township, Montgomery County, student-athletes and their families held a rally to let their voices be heard.

Over 100 athletes, their parents and families stood in the rain asking people to honk their horns if they support fall sports.

"We've been working so hard for the past three years, it would be so devastating if we weren't able to," said soccer player, Macy Leitzel.

READ MORE: 'Let us play': Montgomery County students rally to save sports this fall

"We're out here trying to convince our school district and board that we really wanna play," said a parent of a high school football player.

Some students say they've taken part in sports camps over the summer proving it can be done safely without spreading the virus.

"There hasn't been a lot of cases at least on my team and I think we can do it for school too," said Grace Dailey.

Over a week ago, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA), the governing body of Pennsylvania High School sports, overwhelmingly rejected Gov. Tom Wolf's recommendation that fall sports be postponed until January 1 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

READ MORE: PIAA OKs fall sports at Pennsylvania schools, despite governor's recommendation

Twenty-one of twenty-four school districts in the Suburban One League voted to allow fall sports under those CDC guidelines.

"These kids need something, they need this, their mental health needs this and we are advocating for our kids to have sports," said parent, Diana Shapley.

A recent study by the University of Wisconsin found that more than two-thirds of high school athletes reported having anxiety and depression due to sports cancellations, lower physical activity levels and quality of life issues.

"All the stuff that's outside the classroom is so important for kids and their mental well-being and when you take it away from them, you may have irreparably damaged the kids," said parent, Peter Rubincam.

Meanwhile, in Upper Merion, the school board voted unanimously 9-0 to postpone fall sports until the spring as recommended by Superintendent Dr. John Toleno.

The Board of School Directors of the School District of Springfield Township is expected to vote on the issue during a virtual meeting Tuesday night.