CHICAGO (CBS) — This week, Chicago Public Schools will take steps to bring back sports for students.
The district’s summer sports programming begins, with plenty of COVID-19 precautions and concerns. As CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross reported, CPS said the majority of summer activities will take place outdoors, with a limited number of indoor activities.
Driving into the summer, Chicago Public Schools students who want to play sports will take their first swings, steps, or shots at doing so this week.
Summer programs are beginning in the era of COVID-19 with some hesitancy from parents.
“I don’t see it going away in the next month or two, so obviously it needs to be under important consideration,” one man said.
“I’m going to coach in these circumstances, because there’s more to life than the physical impact,” said Coach LaRon Wade.
Wade said COVID-19 has turned a seasonal sports tradition into uncharted team territory.
Pictures show his basketball programs through Beyond Athletics Chicago. They include weeks of team bonding and monitorship from college and pro athletes.
But it will not be basketball business as usual. The most recent team picture showed the kids in jerseys with masks.
CPS issued guidelines that include social distancing, mandatory daily temperature checks, and facial coverings.
Meanwhile, spectators are not being allowed to attend summer activities. Wade said that could cut back on scholarship opportunities for young players.
“This has impacted the recruiter process in a tremendous way,” he said. “It’s very disheartening because kids are having opportunities taken away from them.”
Former Farragut High School basketball player Daniro Bolden said COVID-19 has taken too many milestones from him.
“COVID happened – I didn’t get to graduate,” he said. “I didn’t experience none of that prom anything.”
Bolden hopes COVID-19 will not also take the upcoming season.
COVID-19 cases recently spiked in Lake Zurich after a sports camp at a school there.
Bolden said sports protected him from some of Chicago’s dangers, and potentially not having an athletic outlet would “really hurt.”
Still, parents are concerned about their kids possibly getting sick.
“I think things will eventually be safe,” Wade said. “I think that we should all continue to follow the guidelines.”
That is the plan for athletics. CPS said in the coming weeks, they will share details on how they are going to reopen their schools safely for the coming school year.