SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – As the school year is about to start, some parents have a new worry for their students.
Springfield Public Schools (SPS) sent out an email on Tuesday regarding in-person learning for students participating in sports.
SPS has a bylaw where sports students must be in-seat for at least two classes or 1 unit to be eligible to practice or play their sport.
Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) encouraged schools to put in a non-traditional policy for sports students.
MSHSAA recommends three options for public schools:
- The student is an enrolled student of the public high school of residence, as defined in By-Law 3.10, and is taking a minimum of two credit-bearing, seat-time classes for a minimum of 1.0 units of credit at the high school.
- The high school administration confirms after a full academic review that the student is further enrolled in courses taken outside of the school which bring the student up to the academic credit requirements outlined in By-Law 2.3.2 (80%). Each local school will determine its oversight, standards, and criteria for approval of such outside courses/credits, as well as the procedures to determine success/credit confirmation for academic eligibility for the current and following semester.
It is not necessary that such confirmed credits be placed on the high school transcript, but may be listed, at the school’s discretion.
- All classes/assignments must be completed by the high school’s close of the semester, as per By-Law 2.3.11, for those classes/credits to be considered toward activity eligibility. d. Transfer of Enrollment based on Changes in Bona-fide Student and Academic Status: Any
“14 years ago, when I started as an Athletic Director I said, ‘No way, I want everybody in classroom, everybody walking our halls for 7 hours a day,” District Athletic Director Joshua Scott said. “I’ve kind of realized some students can learn differently.”
The in-seat rule goes for middle schools and high schools. SPS decided to forgo this policy during the pandemic.
SPS was able to hold practices, along with games, safely during the pandemic. The goal this year is to continue practicing safety measures but getting back to a sense of normalcy.
“We need to get back to normal as fast as we can,” Scott said. “Our student-athletes need to be in the buildings around each other, part of that culture and with our coaches. We feel like being in the building at least a unit of credit per semester helps you tie into that school community. I think a lot of parents still want their students to be a part of the school culture and climate for some of those intangible parts of learning in the school system,” Scott said.
But not all parents agree. Lena Guminski’s daughter Veronica is going in her junior year at Glendale High School. Veronica plays golf during the school year.
“She loves it. It means everything to her,” Guminski. “That’s the bubble that you just can’t take away from her.”
Lena planned to have Veronica online for the year for health concerns.
Lena received an email Tuesday morning saying Veronica had to be in-seat for at least two classes for the fall.
“COVID isn’t gone,” Guminski said. “It’s still here. It’s not going anywhere, clearly, and it’s, as we see, it’s getting worse.”
Guminski said her daughter wants to take golf beyond high school.
“She wants to use this for college,” Guminski said. “She wants to see if she can get some help with a scholarship.”
Springfield Public Schools says that those needing an accommodation should talk to their guidance counselors, athletic director, and the principal in their building.
For Veronica, it is unclear what the school year will look like for her.