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While some are worried about fans being allowed at high school sporting events this winter, student-athletes in a handful of communities are just hoping for a chance to play.
In recent days many school districts have announced that they will not be allowed to play basketball or, in some cases, any winter sports at all as COVID-19 numbers continue to rise throughout Massachusetts.
This notably includes two-time defending Division 1 boys basketball champion Lynn English. On Saturday, the Lynn schools were notified that the Board of Health will not permit them to participate in any winter sports. Lynn schools, which includes English, Lynn Classical, Lynn Tech, and KIPP Academy, have not had any kids in school so far this year so as a result no potential winter athletes have been in the building.
“These kids haven’t been in school at all since March,” said Bulldogs boys basketball coach Antonio Anderson. “I thought the city would give these kids something to have. It gives kids motivation to do well in school. They need this more than ever.”
St. Mary’s, a private school in Lynn, is not expected to be impacted by the Lynn’s Board of Health decision. St. Mary’s has offered in-person learning since September.
“We are confident that following the same protocols that have allowed us to offer in-person learning for more than 100 days and participate in interscholastic athletics throughout the fall will allow us our student-athletes to safely compete this winter,” St. Mary’s athletic director Jeff Newhall said in a statement.
Elsewhere, West Newbury’s Board of Health is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to allow Pentucket to compete in boys and girls basketball this season. The principal, superintendent, and school committee support having a season on the hardwood this year but the board of health is a monster hurdle.
“I am just hoping (the Board of Health) reads the EEA guidelines, the MIAA Sports Medicine Committee’s recommendations, and makes a decision based on those,” Sachems’ girls basketball coach John McNamara said.
Wellesley’s school committee is expected to officially decide whether to allow basketball Tuesday night. The Raiders are already cleared to compete in swimming, gymnastics, and boys and girls ice hockey.
A number of leagues including the Catholic Conference, Hockomock League, Patriot League, Merrimack Valley Conference, and Middlesex League are scheduled to offer a full slate of winter athletics.
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