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Letter: Winter sports must be postponed. Lives are at stake

SHARE Letter: Winter sports must be postponed. Lives are at stake

Alta High School players celebrate at Hillcrest High School in Midvale on Feb. 22, 2006.

Mark DiOrio, Deseret Morning News

I urge the governor to extend the postponement of high school winter sports and activities. I have a high school student who plays on the school basketball team, which is just ramping up for the season, and the thought of sending him to practices and games all over the valley seems crazy. I watch as the University of Utah basketball team is sidelined with COVID-19. I read about college teams all over the country sidelined with COVID-19. Basketball is a high-risk activity because it is played indoors, with close contact between players all breathing heavily on each other. High school teams will face the exact same fate as the college teams are starting to face now — except that the high school kids go home to their families every night instead of to a dorm or apartment. Is it worth the price these players, their families and our communities will face?

In a time when masks are mandatory, the governor is urging single-household gatherings only, and our hospitals and ICUs are nearly full, how is it OK to send our student athletes out to play different teams each week, creating increased exposure to COVID over the valley? How is it possible that while COVID is raging and spiking, it’s OK to risk the lives of our students’ families for basketball? Exceptions and inconsistencies like this contribute to the increases in cases and deaths — for a basketball game. I can’t understand it. If the kids can’t be in school, how is it OK for them to play winter sports?

As much as it hurts to say this (my son lives for basketball), Gov. Herbert should postpone high school winter sports until the virus is under control, the load the hospitals and health care workers bear is lifted, and the vaccine is distributed. I don’t want this, but it is the right thing to do. Let’s make the difficult and courageous choices and flatten the curve. Let’s save some lives.

Beth Chardack

Salt Lake City