Wednesday Lincoln County School District students and parents turned out on the corner of Hwy 101 and 20 in Newport holding signs advocating for the district to allow full contact football. On February 12th the district posted information as they received guidance from the state regarding the allowance of contact sports. In a letter to the community and to parents the district stated that although Governor Brown has issued a press release allowing protocols for outdoor contact sports, such as football to resume, Lincoln County is still a high-risk county and would require an “opt-in” to contact football the Lincoln County School district is not opting in.
One local Waldport parent, Ashley Catalfamo said she has had enough. She has organized a protest with students and parents last Wednesday the 17th. She has sent multiple letters to the Lincoln County School Board and the Superintendent asking for the administration to reconsider and opt-in for contact football. In one of the letters she states "What we are desiring is simple opt in! Fill out the forms! Give the option to our kids regardless what color our county is in! Districts with higher positivity rates and much larger student body numbers than ours are opting in and already have all grades back, in person, at least 2 days a week."
Another parent Michelle Fullerton stated Our district seems determined to keep our youth locked up, depressed, sedentary, anxious and uneducated. Parents and students should be allowed to choose to opt in. Time and time again this "leadership" has failed our children." Catalfamo added that the "LCSD continues to dangle the carrot and take it away.. dangle the carrot and take it away from the students/athletes in this county! This is absolutely dangerous and toxic behavior to continue to impart on our kids."
One of the Students at the protest Toledo High School Senior Jaxson Rozewski said "this has taken it's toll on us not being able to play sports and hang out with our friends. We have been doing what we are supposed to do, keeping our grades up just to have any chance to play sports. We want to be able to play sports again with the kids we have grown up with." He said "we are all sitting in the same boat and we just want to play football. Other larger districts across the state are going for it and allowing their students to play and we want that same opportunity." Both Rozewski and Catalfamo say the students have been supported by their schools and coaches. Catalfamo said "they have gone above and beyond to help our kids."
In a press release sent out on February 16th the district stated that "the Counties Covid numbers are down, and if this continues, we will bring back full-contact football for those schools wishing to do so." The county could move to moderate risk as on February 25. According to Dr. Karen Gray, Lincoln County School Superintendent, the reason for not doing an opt-in is about safety. It is also about district liability and student privacy."
At the end of January, LCSD football coaches met to outline plans for a seven on seven season if unable to play contact football this season. "These plans will continue until we are categorized at a Moderate Risk level-which will, hopefully be soon." When asked if the county numbers change from moderate back to a high level would football stop Dr. Gray said no "When we are Moderate we will have full contact football and we will NOT go back. I feel our days of going backwards have to be over."
According to the district this is what would be allowed IF the county moves to moderate level.
February 26: Helmets and pads practice football (If Moderate Risk)
Week of February 26 - Flag Football (no helmets during flag competition)
If moderate after February 26th, we can move to 8 or 11 man football. Due to health, safety, and size, 8 and 11 man football can be interchangeable.
Another rally to get the district to reconsider their recent decision to opt-out of contact football will be held on Wednesday February 24th 11:30-12:30 at the corner of Hwy 101 and 20. The importance of the rally Catalfamo said is to show the overwhelming community support for these students and their dedication and commitment to their schools, their teams and themselves. Over 509 people have signed a petition to support these efforts for contact football. She added that they are doing this because if the county does not fall to Moderate next week and the district does not opt in by March 1 there can be no contact football. To view the petition go to let them play Lincoln County https://fb.me/e/huPu2RhdB