A new mayoral order in D.C. is allowing for some low-contact kids sports to return to competition April 1, and those who run high school sports in the District say it’s a relief.
“Those low-contact sports include baseball, softball, track and field and tennis,” said D.C. State Athletic Association Executive Director Clark Ray.
An executive order from the mayor’s office issued Thursday allowed DCSAA to apply for a “return to play” through the Department of Health, Ray said. Working with DOH and the mayor’s office, the agency, which oversees kids’ sports in the District, issued new guidelines for spring play.
Moderate- and high-contact sports are still restricted from competition in the District, and Mayor Muriel Bowser has said she’ll reevaluate where the health metrics are in early April to decide whether that will change.
Meanwhile, Ray said, any return to sports is a good thing for kids who have not had the chance to play for a year.
“I think the reaction is relief,” he said. “I think it’s been really devastating for our student-athletes.”
He added that it was partially a matter of equity.
“It has really been a divide between those who have and those who have not. If you can afford to pay, you can play — you can play AAU; you can play club sports. If you have talent, you get asked to play on these teams. And then there was a certain subset of our students who didn’t have the financial means, or hadn’t been recognized yet, who were not getting to play,” Ray said.
Kids are playing in Montgomery County and Northern Virginia, which Ray said makes the restrictions on D.C. teen athletics harder to stomach.
“We are back not on equal footing yet. But we have re-entered the playing fields, so to speak,” he said.
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