As student-athletes from Latin Academy and other Boston City League schools prepared Sunday night for their first practices in weeks, they received the disappointing news that BPS officials would be extending the pause on athletics beyond Jan. 10.
The pause, which went into effect Dec. 23 because of rising COVID cases across the city and rolling shut downs among BCL programs, and in accordance with the Boston Public Health Commission, was originally scheduled to end Monday.
At Wednesday’s school committee meeting, superintendent Brenda Casselius said the pause will remain in effect until Tuesday, Jan. 18, with athletes returning to practice and small group conditioning that day. Games will likely resume by Jan. 24.
“We had packed our bags and were ready to come back and continue our season, when we got word of the shutdown at 9:30 p.m. Sunday,” said Lily Crowley, a senior guard on the Latin Academy girls’ basketball team. “It felt like we [as student-athletes] were put on the back burner.”
Prior to Wednesday’s update, BCL student-athletes had scheduled a #LetUsPlay protest Thursday at 3 p.m. in front of City Hall. But that rally has been put on hold.
With students attending classes in person and congregating in crowded areas at school, the student-athletes didn’t believe it made sense to continue with a pause on athletics.
“We understand COVID is a very important issue,” Latin Academy basketball player Osasu Woghiren said. “But at the end of the day there are hundreds of people in the cafeteria, and 50 to 70 kids in a gym class, and we’re just asking for 10 to 12 people to play safely in a gym with our masks up.”
Without organized sports, and with programs in other areas of the state staying sharp by playing games and practicing, some BPS athletes have resorted to playing basketball at public venues, creating another outlet for the virus to spread.
“We practiced better health protocols when the season was going,” said Latin Academy’s Brennan Shapiro. “Because now we go to the [YMCA] or public health clubs to play pickup with strangers, who aren’t wearing masks, versus playing with masks in our school building with people we know.”
Chrispin, who was also the captain of the Dragons’ league-winning football team this fall, points out the wrestling team has had only one confirmed COVID case among nearly 50 participants this season.
“It feels like we’ve been making all these compromises,” Chrispin said. “We’ve been wearing masks, testing once a week, and haven’t had crowds. We took the first [pause], and we were ready to come back.” .”