BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Kern High School District approved a motion this Wednesday morning to essentially give a green light to its schools to begin preparation to return spring sports on campus as early as March 1 in a special board of trustees meeting.
While that’s not a win for every team, it was a win for those hoping KHSD student-athletes could have a chance at competition before the end of the school year.
“It's just not right. I don't know how to put it another way than that it's not right,” Jerald Pierucci said.
Shafter’s head football coach summing up how it’s felt not having his team and other student athletes back on campus.
As a coach, teacher and fellow parent of athletes Pierucci knows all too well how difficult this past year has been.
“I think for most parents, we, we can sit back and see that the strain has been really real on these kids and it goes to us too. I miss just being around the guys,” Pierucci said.
From the highs and lows of the games to the grind of practice. .KHSD student-athletes only had a short time to experience those moments since the shutdown last March.
And with the district approving the recommendation to return season two sports which includes: boy’s and girl’s tennis and golf, swimming, track and field and softball and baseball, pressure is now on the district and schools to create a plan for a return as early as the next couple of weeks.
Stan Greene, Director of School Support Services for KHSD, shared that they will now look at training their coaches on COVID-19 protocols and creating a plan for transportation.
“So, we'll take that time to do that, then our hope is that on March 1 we received the approval for the Safe Schools for all plan that's being submitted. And once that's submitted and approved, then we're good to go,” Green said.
During the special board meeting parents shared written remarks, critiquing the board on what they feel has been a slower process to return sports than other districts and counties, including Wasco, who hosted two cross country events last week.
Greene also taking some direct heat as the one who oversees athletics.
"I feel like my reputation speaks for itself. When it comes to students and supporting students and supporting athletics, so our passion for our students. I don't think you can measure it. I appreciate the parents passion. We're with them 100%. And, you know, we want our kids to play but because we're a public agency, we have to comply with sort some regulations that others may not,” Greene said.
And as one parent referenced it as “the elephant in the room”, Greene knows a lot of attention is still on high school football but with the district focusing on spring sports and only ten weeks left of a potential football season the clock is ticking.
“I hate to say no, but based on the current tears that the governor has it just doesn't look good for those collisions that take place. And with the very, you know, as this window shrinks. It becomes a safety issue where you can get a kid hurt,” Greene said.
“It doesn't matter if it's if it's a track or softball, baseball, in the swimming pool on the tennis courts, we have to save our youth, our youth are struggling mentally they're, they're struggling emotionally they're struggling physically, you know, we talk about stories, how many stories are not going to be read because of what happened this year in California. How many kids stories are not going to be told or not going to come to fruition. Because, you know, we as adults couldn't figure it out,” Pierucci said.
Although Kern County saw cross country return for Wasco, Bakersfield Christian and Garces Memorial this past week, that won’t be an option for KHSD.
Meanwhile, other districts in our county have yet to return to competition and are still waiting on board decisions while Taft High School has continued conditioning on campus for the past few months.