February 8, 2023 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

SJO Board to discuss basketball at November meeting

Basketball isn’t a sure thing at St. Joseph-Ogden High School this winter.

The district will have to decide whether to follow the declaration of the Gov. JB Pritzker which said basketball should not be played this winter due to COVID-19 or follow IHSA guidance which, with safety measures, allows practices and play to start this month.

“We will need to take a look at the mitigation factors that the IHSA is putting in place, and the guidance from the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee,” Superintendent Brian Brooks said. “Once we get our minds wrapped around that, we’ll have a recommendation for our Board of Education at the November Board meeting.”

Brooks said liability for the district would be a concern.

“That will certainly be part of the discussion,” he said. “It has definitely been unexpectedly dropped squarely in
school districts laps.”

Brooks said he can see both sides of the discussion and understands the importance of giving students an athletic outlet.

“I do feel kids need these activities if they can be done safely,” he said. “We see a great mental struggle with students every day due to everything going on right now, and all that they are sacrificing.”

Brooks said that students have given up a lot since March when the schools were originally closed.

“You are really starting to see the effects of that on students,” he said.   “It is very disheartening when you really think about it.”

Brooks said he believes we need to find a happy medium for kids during this pandemic and ask how activities can be provided safely for students.

“If other states truly are having success with this, why isn’t Illinois collaborating with those states to see how they are having success in the best interest of kids,” he said.  “My heart breaks for every kid right now and
what they are going through, missing out on, and the sacrifices they are having to make.  I’m not just talking about sports.  I’m talking about the whole experience of just being their age in life.”

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