Parents, youth athletes rally to ease pandemic restrictions

Ever since state leaders released new guidelines that allow school districts to consider returning more kids to in-person instruction in our public schools, some parents are asking why youth-sports have not yet also been considered.

That’s why dozens rallied outside the ShoWare Center in Kent Saturday afternoon. Speakers said they hope restrictions will also be revised for their youth. Parents worry having their kids isolate to stay safe from a virus ignores their mental health.

"It’s not fair," said parent Sandy Flores. "It’s not fair to the kids."

They braved the rain, and the pandemic to demand youth sports be allowed to convene for the sake of kids’ wellbeing.

Saturday’s rally was sponsored by the Washington Sports Alliance. Speakers said restrictions risk not only private youth sports organizations but young people as well.

"Someone needs to speak up," said student-athlete Meeya Robinson.

"I do have ambitions to play at the next level," said high school junior and football player Taylor Jones.

Taylor’s teammate Chase Coalson is a senior who says even if practices are distanced, getting together with his friends means a lot.

"It’s the best days of the week being with those guys," Coalson said.

"We’ve got to bend the curve," said Mike Hoffman, Executive Director at WIAA.

The organization oversees our state’s public school athletics. Hoffman hopes new guidelines for in-person instruction could also mean new guidelines for school athletics in 2021

While pandemic guidelines are extremely important, he added they also must also recognize any adverse effects on kids’ mental health.

"We’re going to be ready as soon as the governor says we’re okay to start," he said.

Once Taylor and Chase learned football season this year might be back in play, after all, they hope state officials also consider reviewing guidelines for young athletes.

"It’s the only thing we hope for," said Coalson.