Dear SH Parents,
We have heard concerns from several of you regarding the continuation of basketball while we are currently engaged in virtual classroom instruction. We wanted to share with you our reason for making these decisions. We appreciate your feedback and we continually adjust based on our families’ input and the best interest of our school and students.
We know the primary question our parents have is how is it safe to play sports when it is not safe to be in the classroom?
We actually believe that it is safe for students to be in the classroom. Our greater concern, in light of the increased community spread in our county, is the health and safety of our faculty and staff who are at greater risk of major complications from Covid19.
At this point, we actually do not have a large number of cases in our school, but we are concerned about the recent spike in our county. If this most recent increase in cases is the result of holiday gatherings, we are hopeful that these two weeks will give our community time to recognize signs of illness and quarantine appropriately so it is not spread in our school. We want to protect your children and we want to protect our staff. We fully intend to return to the classroom next week (Tuesday, following the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday) and we hope that this virtual time will enable us to remain in-person for the remainder of the school year.
As to why are we continuing to play sports at all:
Sacred Heart sports are governed by the Arkansas Activities Association (AAA). The current rules from the AAA state that students may continue to participate in sports even when education is conducted virtually, so long as the student continues to participate in practice. While we are utilizing school-wide virtual education right now, we especially understand if parents are not comfortable with their child(ren) participating. Sports are optional and we trust that you as parents will make the best decision for your child.
At this time, we are continuing to participate in basketball practice and games. We have rescheduled several games and are now facing a very limited range of dates available to complete our season. We must complete our conference games in order to determine seeding for the District Tournament. Our other option is to forfeit our season. We feel this would be a disservice to our student athletes who have worked so hard this season and who have already lost so much over the past year.
Tournament play will be adjusted this year to minimize risk as much as possible. Games will be spaced out more with boys’ and girls’ games taking place on different nights. The Jr. High tournament will be scaled back, with only the top four seeds participating in the district tournament and only those teams will be allowed to participate in post-season play.
We do intend to minimize risk to our families at games as much as possible. Specific to the game this Thursday night, our cheerleaders will not be present in an effort to minimize exposure where possible and we understand if our crowd is lighter than usual.
During all games, we will continue to implement social distancing and mask protocols. We will also be limiting our concession stand to water and Gatorade only (primarily because teams are not currently bringing this to games) and we are adjusting our worker list where needed. If you do not feel comfortable working your shift, please text Djuana Beck at 501.208.2488. Among our players, we will continue to closely monitor all covid safety protocols in the locker rooms, during practice and games. Transportation to away games may be modified as needed to further protect players. We ask that you as parents reiterate these protocols with your children and ensure that they socially distance when in the stands and avoid congregating. Any further changes will be communicated to parents.
In short, we fully understand and share your concerns about safety at this time. We encourage you to contact your child’s coach if you are not comfortable with your child participating this week. We are all facing very difficult decisions. This school year, we have learned time and again that we must be prepared to modify and adjust and we will notify you asap if this plan changes. We look forward to seeing our students in-person Tuesday, January 19!
Buddy Greeson, Principal
Kyle Duvall, Athletic Director