What will happen with fall sports?
As an integral part of the high rate of success of Lahainaluna High School sports for over two decades, Athletic Trainer and Assistant Athletic Director Jon Conrad has had an inside perspective of the complex mechanics of the programs at the historic West Side campus.
So today, with educational systems all across the country in ever-changing status amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, there are serious questions regarding interscholastic fall sports as education administrators attempt to follow mandated directives to begin the school year next month.
With Hawaii public school systems in a state of flux as principals are creating teaching plans tailored to their schools and communities, a deep sense of trepidation envelops families, teachers, administrators and all staff members. Confusion reigns on all levels.
With the medical and administrative experience he has gained at Lahainaluna, Coach Conrad is left in a conflicted state considering the prospects of fall sports.
On one hand, he sees the need to bring back the tourism industry to stimulate the local economy, yet fears the safety of doing so. Is it safe? Testing is still questionable, and there are still so many questions to answer.
The fall sports for high school are cross country, girls volleyball, air riflery and football. At Lahainaluna, the gridiron tradition leads the way, and yet football brings serious questions of safety for not only the student-athletes but also to the coaches and team staff.
“Football will be tough with so much equipment and so much close contact,” Conrad explained. “We’ll do the best we can within the guidelines and standards set for us by the Department of Education (DOE).
“We’ll go wherever we are needed, do everything we can to help out – in the medical field, in the classroom, in the administrative office or in nursing care. We want to keep everyone safe and maintain federal care standards for special needs students to keep federal funding in place. There are so many questions as to educating the students while keeping them apart. Most importantly, how do we keep them safe?”
The 2020-21 school year is scheduled to start on Aug. 4. While Conrad said “things are changing every day” right now, students and parents should hear more concrete news from the DOE soon.