Superintendent's Letter on School Athletics

October 17, 2002
A new letter (#9) is being sent to parents, students, and staff today [Thursday, October 17] from the superintendent, and the text follows. The letter is available on the web at the link below.

October 17, 2002

Update #9

Dear Parents, Students, and Staff:

Efforts are under way to find alternatives to the current prohibition of outdoor activities at schools. Even though we continue to make decisions on a day-to-day basis, we are mindful that the current emergency might last through the weekend and into next week, and this requires more long-range thought and planning. The primary focus is on identifying alternatives for student athletes in the various high school field sports that have lost valuable outdoor practices and contests. Several scenarios are being pursued, including out-of-county sites and centralized county facilities that would offer the best security and accessibility. As of this morning, no final conclusions had been reached, but I want parents, students, and staff to know that experts in school athletics, logistics, security, transportation, and high school administration -- along with county government leaders -- were trying to find the best way for student athletes to play, if at all possible.

Other school system experts in art, health, and physical education are working on alternatives to outdoor recess. They are collaborating with their colleagues in staff development and the instructional areas of mathematics, English, science, social studies, reading, early childhood instruction, and elementary and secondary education to find helpful ideas that are physically and educationally appropriate. Their goal is to assist teachers who may have exhausted their repertoire of indoor activities for young students who are missing outside play time. Some of the alternatives may be appropriate for older students, too, to offset the impact of being inside all day. These ideas will be shared with parents, as well, because the loss of outside activities also has an impact at home. Please look for these ideas on the web site soon.

The closure of school tomorrow, Friday, October 18, is a good opportunity to make improvements if this emergency continues. Discussions with other school system and police department leaders in the Washington area are identifying common problems and potential solutions. Although our core mission is classroom teaching and learning, the outdoor experiences of children are an important component of our educational program.


Jerry D. Weast, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

P.S. For the latest announcements, see our web site at the link below.

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