With the 2020-2021 school year being played day-by-day, the high school football seasons are no exception. While both the Elkhorn and Millard school districts opted to in-person learning, Nebraska’s largest school district, Omaha Public Schools, voted to go fully online for the first quarter of the school year. Therefore, putting a hold on any and all fall sports and extracurricular activities – placing over 54,000 students in remote-learning.
Mr. Marque Snow, Board of Education President, and Dr. Cheryl Logan, Superintendent of Omaha Public Schools, have been met with serious backlash over the forgoing of fall sports.
In a statement they made on Monday addressing the situation, they stated, “We understand the important role extra-curricular activities play in a student’s school experience. Just as we would like to be learning with students in person each day, we all wish they were also taking the fields, trails, courts and courses to compete.”
While the original plan for OPS to have remote-learning will still be followed through, there are talks of them transitioning into an in-person learning second quarter, whether that being a 3-2 model or fully in class five days a week.
However, the Omaha Public School board is still taking every precaution deemed necessary.
In a note “acknowledging disappoint” made by Mr. Marque Snow, Board of Education President, and Dr. Cheryl Logan, Superintendent, they stated:” “As we monitor transmission of COVID-19 in the Omaha community, informed by guidance from the Douglas County Health Department and partners like UNMC, if it is not the right time for students to learn socially distanced in a classroom, we know that group workouts, weightlifting and competition cannot take place in a safe and responsible manner. It is not a decision made lightly and to our students and families voicing frustration, we hear you.”
Furthermore, there is much talk of a proposal to the Nebraska School Activities Association in the works. The proposal entails, to allow fall and spring athletes to compete in both sports in the spring.
“The talk of moving fall to spring and gearing up for winter sports is we believe our best option at this time,” Stephen Eubanks, Supervisor of Athletics, said.
OPS Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Logan proposal contains a phased back to school program. The first phase would start off with a 3-2 model in some school programs and elementary schools. Next, phasing in middle schools in addition to more school programming. Lastly, they would phase in high school and the rest of the school programming.
OPS supervisor of athletics, Steve Eubanks stated, “If students return to school under the Family 3/2 Model, student-athletes would have to be allowed to attend practices and contests on the days they are not doing in-person learning.”
Furthermore, Eubanks stated, “If that is allowed, athletics at the high school level can be successful and can be done safely; But without that we cannot compete at the NSAA level with students only coming partially or competing on the days they’re present.”
In a letter Dr. Cheryl Logan wrote to parents on Monday addressing all their concerns, she stated,“Throughout our planning process, we’ve shared that in addition to neighboring school districts, we are regularly in contact with the districts most like ours across the country. Several large, urban school communities have reached similar, difficult decisions related to fall activities.”
However, the question still remains, “Who will OPS play?”