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Superintendents send letter to Pritzker asking for student athlete plan

"The physical, mental and academic well-being of our students are depending on us. Our students are depending on you"
Credit: UPI
Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker warns that additional restrictions designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19, will go into effect unless people begin to wear their masks and social distance from one another, during his daily press briefing, in Belleville, Illinois on Thursday, October 22, 2020. The number of cases statewide has increased over the last two weeks. On 10/22/2020, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 4,342 new COVID-19 cases and 69 related deaths, ticking up to numbers similar to March. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

SPRINGFIELD, Ill — More than 200 superintendents from schools across Illinois sent a letter to Governor J.B. Pritzker asking for a mitigation plan to allow student athletes to compete this winter.

The superintendents began the letter by thanking the governor for everything he’s doing to reduce the risk of COVID-19.

They then went on to say the purpose of the letter is to share their perspectives as educators "tasked with the safety and wellbeing of our students, staff, families and communities.”

They said the pandemic has impacted the social interactions of students.

“Some of the negative effects that we are seeing as a result of these experiences being limited are depression, anxiety, lack of motivation, and loss of self,” the superintendents said in the letter.

They said educators have worked to reinvent how they educate students and provide social interactions throughout the pandemic. But they said extracurricular experiences can’t be replicated unless students are given the opportunity to participate.

The educators asked Pritzker to consider three factors before delaying or canceling any future extracurricular activities at the high school or junior high levels.

The three factors include:

  • School districts have shown that when given the opportunity, they can find the balance between health and safety of school communities while providing for continuity of learning.
  • School districts are creative and continue to find ways to connect with students.
  • In most instances, positive cases found in schools come from outside of the school.

"The physical, mental and academic well-being of our students are depending on us. Our students are depending on you," the superintendents went on to say in the letter.

Read the full letter below.