By: KDKA’s Pam Surano
UNIONTOWN, Pa. (KDKA) – Uniontown Area School District is canceling its football and soccer seasons.
Since the district’s board of directors voted to go online-only during the first nine weeks of school, the board decided to cancel the football and boys/girls soccer seasons at all levels.
The athletic department cited a comment made by Gov. Tom Wolf at a press conference Monday as to why the decision was made to cancel.
“I was not willing to put one student, one parent, one family, extended family member or staff member in jeopardy,” Uniontown Area School Superintendent Charles Machesky told KDKA.
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Machesky says the decision to make the first nine weeks of school online and to cancel fall contact sports made for sleepless nights. The decision, however, came after a unanimous board vote Monday following statements made by the governor.
“If the school is going completely virtual, it seems hard to justify having in-person contact sports being played in the fall,” said Gov. Wolf.
“In football, you’re not going to block someone or you’re not going to tackle someone? I believe there should have been a directive, here is how it has to be,” said Machesky.
Recent rising coronavirus cases in Fayette County also triggered the board’s decision to vote for virtual learning.
“Is it the best educational model? Absolutely not, I’ll be the first to tell you that and no one can argue that. Is it the safest model? Absolutely,” Machesky said.
The athletics department says it’s waiting on more guidance before deciding if other fall sports will play. No decision has been made yet.
Governor Wolf and Dr. Rachel Levine are expected to release more information this week on what to do with sports.
“We want to keep them safe, we want to make sure we’re doing the right things. But when you see your daughter feeling down because she doesn’t have that social interaction, FaceTime doesn’t do it all,” Fayette County parent Jim Nagel told KDKA.
The issue now is internet access for one of the largest geographical districts in the state. There are 2,800 students in the 248-square-mile district, which is working with several internet providers to purchase hotspots.