After school clubs and activities expect to have major changes for the year

Published: Aug. 21, 2020 at 6:19 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Parents are concerned their children will have to miss out on after school clubs and athletics, which are known to be beneficial to student's mental health.

Neillsville High School in Clark County confirmed it will not be hosting any co-curricular activities to start the year.

When La Crosse and the Eau Claire Area School Districts made the decision to move all fall sports to the spring, the question became - what will nearby school districts decide?

Altoona High School's athletics and activities director, Elissa Upward, says with the WIAA deadline of September 1st, the school district has yet to make that decision when it comes to the higher risk sports this fall.

However, girls golf, girls tennis, and cross country are already underway with some modifications.

"Normally in our cross country races or meets, you would normally have all of the schools kind of huddled in their box really tight quarters, we are now spacing that out where you have that six feet from team to team but now you also have that six feet from athlete to athlete and moving them back and at the end you would normally go into a chute which would obviously go into a smaller area, now we are widening that out," said Upward.

Athletes at Altoona also wear masks while at practice when they are not able to keep a safe distance.

“The nice part about these athletics is that they’re outside so we can basically spread out and we don’t have to be too careful about a cramped space because we are outdoors”.

Despite concerns, Upward says participation is steady for these sports.

Beyond athletics, after school clubs, and co-curricular activities such as youth in government, math club, drama, and so many more are also seeing big changes.

Eau Claire North High School's athletic director and assistant principal Mike Pernsteiner says the school is dedicated to still having these opportunities for students.

The focus, though, is on having a good and safe start to the year academically.

“The thing we want to look at is getting school started academically. Knowing that we are going to support those things it’s just getting things going and then how is that going to look in our day ... Once we have a good start to the year we can start to roll out the dates and times of those activities,” said Pernsteiner.

Pernsteiner also says although the timing is still being discussed, clubs that can be conducted online will be made available for students eventually.

"we can still do those kinds of things, student council is a good example .. Forensics or something like that where it can be done virtually or can be done with a small group of students where they are doing that in their cohort and staying with that small group and distancing and all those things"

Both Upward and Pernsteiner say they understand the importance of these activities in teenagers' lives, and don't want to see kids miss out this year, or ever.

Upward told WEAU,

“This is the fun stuff that they look forward to coming into school for and it’s kind of that extra stuff that creates a lot of the memories that’s going to go with them for the rest of their life and we think it’s incredibly important that we allow that”.

“We absolutely know the value of those things and a well-rounded education and we want to see those things happen and in order to have those things happen we have to have the academic piece,” said Pernsteiner.

Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.

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