FRAMINGHAM, MASS. (WHDH) - Some parents said they are upset at Framingham officials shutting down school sports and other activities for the next two weeks as COVID-19 cases skyrocket in the community.
The city has seen more than 1,300 new cases since Dec. 29, the largest seven-day increase of any recent surge. Officials have paused sports and other extracurricular activities at city middle schools and the high school, as well as indoor activities offered through the parks department, until at least Jan. 21.
Parents of student athletes said the announcement caught them by surprise.
‘We understand that numbers are surging right now, but it’s confusing how these children are being responsible for the entire city’s numbers,” said Kristen White, whose son plays varsity hockey. “That just doesn’t seem to be fair.”
“I would hope they would rethink this decision if it’s truly about mitigating spread of virus in the city, this is not the right first step,” said Tom Galvani, whose daughter plays varsity basketball. “This does not make any sense when all the other things like masking, indoor gatherings, vaccinations have not been mandated.”
Students athletes themselves also expressed frustration regarding the decision.
“I started crying because I had waited so long for my senior season. I think that every athlete and every person who’s involved in extracurriculars was just honestly heartbroken,” said gymnast Maddie Walsh. She said her first meet of the season was scheduled for this week prior to pause.
Other school districts throughout the Bay State have also taken similar measures due to a surge in coronavirus cases.
Wellesley Public Schools resumed their winter athletics season just last week with new mitigation rules after temporarily suspending the season due to an increase in COVID-19 cases among athletes.
The Greater Boston Sports League, comprised of school districts just northeast of Boston, cancelled all competitions and practices last week. They are slated to resume competition on Tuesday.
Framingham city officials say they plan on monitoring the COVID-19 data to determine whether January 21 is an appropriate date to resume play, though parents and students are hopeful officials will rethink the whole plan.
“We’re just really asking the officials to look at things on a case by case basis instead of having a blanket decision,” said White.
Alongside the pause on sports and extracurriculars, Framingham Mayor Charlie Sisitsky plans to meet with the Framingham Board of Health on Tuesday to discuss the potential for a city-wide mask mandate.
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