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'Kids are losing hope': Guilford County parents rally for school athletics to resume, pointing to mental health struggles

About 15 parents gathered in Greensboro. They discussed their reasons for wanting school sports to resume and handed out flyers featuring mental health resources.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A group of parents gathered on Sunday to rally for sports at Guilford County Schools to resume practices -- or at least feature more prominently in the conversation around the fall 2020 semester.

About 15 parents gathered at Latham Park in Greensboro for about an hour. They discussed their reasons for wanting school sports to resume and handed out flyers featuring mental health resources.

"I think a lot of kids are losing hope. Right now we are struggling with a sense of hopelessness, to be honest with you," said Stacie Baker, a mother of two high school student athletes who play football and lacrosse. "We are fully aware of what is going on, we just would like when the decisions are being made that sports be taken into consideration." 

Valarie Tutuh, a mother of two student athletes at Grimsley High School, said her kids are also facing challenges coping with the new reality.

"Overall it's extremely impacted our boys," Tutuh said. "The ups and downs or the inconsistencies of whether sports will start or not start, or what it would look like, has definitely altered their mood. And given them maybe a lack of hope."

A GCS spokesperson said Guilford County Schools plans to begin athletic workouts and marching band practices on August 3, pending a review of Guilford County public health data.


Should athletics practices resume, Brandy Adams, an event organizer and mother, said she supports coronavirus precautions.

"I am one of the parent volunteers that is going to be helping with (coronavirus precautions," Adams said.

Adams said precautions will include mandatory temperature checks before every practice, workout groups no larger than 15, required mask wearing, social distancing guidelines, restrictions on indoor facility use, and one person at a time allowed to use bathroom facilities.

Members of the movement have organized using a Facebook group called "We Need High School Sports!"

This is the second time group gathered as part of the local movement. On Wednesday about 100 student athletes, parents and coaches rallied at the Guilford County Schools Administrative office.

Guilford County Schools Superintendent Sharon Contreras issued the following statement after Wednesday's rally:

“We understand that our students want to participate in athletics and other co-curricular activities. We know they miss the connections they have with their friends and with our coaches and teachers. We miss them, too. However, we also want our students and staff to stay healthy and safe, and right now, public health data in our county is going in the wrong direction. I support the recommendation of our district athletic directors."


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