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This letter was sent to Wausau Pilot & Review by more than a dozen readers, representing both students and parents. Their names are listed below. A copy of the letter was also sent to members of the Wausau School Board, high school principals and athletic directors.

Dear editor,

For many years, the Wausau Schools Athletic Departments have been fully supportive of multi-sport athletes. They have consistently encouraged athletes to participate in multiple sports and commit to summer training routines. Due to COVID 19, the Wausau School District has chosen to go virtual for the 2020-2021 fall school season.  Based on our understanding, the WIAA has issued safety protocols to allow fall sports to proceed including football. 

As of today, the Wausau School District is the only school district in the area that has not committed to playing football and other sports this fall.  We also are aware that Appleton East, who is in our conference but not in our area has decided to not participate this fall.  If the Wausau School District agrees to participate, there will be 6 high schools available to participate in our conference which would allow for a very competitive and viable fall season.

We are formally asking you to allow our students to play football and other sports this fall.  Following are some considerations:

  1. Students mental and physical health are closely tied together.  Playing organized sports promotes healthy living and improves mental and physical health.  Our children have given up a lot already.  They are asked to give up in person school for the foreseeable future and sit in front of a screen to do school from home.  Increasing their screen time will be detrimental without organized physical activity such as school sports.
  2. Sports are an extracurricular activity and are opt in – no one is required to participate.  We want to decide for ourselves.  Give us the option.  Parent-lead club sports have been occurring all summer long without incident. Parents/guardians signing the Wausau Schools Sports Waiver and paying fees assume the risk for their player as in club sports.  If there is another waiver required for COVID-19, we would be willing to sign it.
  3. Athletes, coaches and parents are and will continue to practice safety protocols and follow CDC and WIAA guidelines such as taking temperatures daily, staying home if they have symptoms, sanitize and wash hands, etc.  There are many things that organized school sports can put in place that will keep athletes safer than the current pickup and 7 X 7 games that are going on.  Every sector in our local economy is in full swing using appropriate safety measures successfully.  We can too!! 
  4. We would become the outlier in our area by not having football, and other sports fall.  Every other school in our local geography will be participating.  We are asking you to join our local conference and geography with regard to sports not to be the exception.

For decades, Wausau School Districts Sports have rallied the community and created comraderie and good relationships between schools, neighbors and businesses.  For the health and protection of our students and community, it is paramount that all athletics take place as normally scheduled, with the utmost sensitivity and adherence of all appropriate CDC and WIAA guidelines. 

Signed,

Patricia Brown, Madelyn Hauer, Amy DeMoss, Diane Rodman, Isaiah DeMoss, Jamie Rye, Olivia Richetto, Scott Buchberger, Jake Harry, Wendy Ohrmundt, Joel Ohrmundt, Jennifer Zaitz, Vikki Trevillian, Sarah Napgezek, Sam Moses, Lisa Moses, Keith Trevillian, Jenica Millerleile, Mike Jirgl