Protesters in Trimont call on school board to reinstate athletic programs

Protesters in Trimont call on school board to reinstate athletic programs

TRIMONT, Minn. (KEYC) - Students and faculty gathered at Martin County West Schools in Trimont Wednesday to call on the school board to reinstate student athletic programs.

Athletic programs were put on hold last week when the district shifted to distance learning because of COVID-19 cases in the county.

“This last Monday was supposed to be the start of our football and volleyball season,” said physical education and health teacher Hilary Elliott.

MCW transitioned to a distance learning model last week after the Minnesota Department of Health issued the recommendation due to COVID-19 cases in the county.

“Because of distance learning, we got our athletics taken away from us at the moment," Elliot said. "We are here to say that we don’t have any cases right now in our school.”

Thursday’s protest was organized primarily by MCW students.

“We’re already at a disadvantage of a distance learning model and we have not had the engagement with friends," said MCW junior Jacob Fiala. "Obviously, we’re not going to until we get our athletics back and our extracurriculars.”

“We’ve done extracurriculars safely all summer and part of this fall,” said assistant football coach Adam Williamson. "We have little issues in our school and with our athletic programs, so we urge our school board to push to reinstate athletics and extracurriculars even in distance learning.”

On Monday, the Fairmont Area School Board voted to continue its district’s hybrid learning model while also allowing staff to develop plans to hold student athletic events. Fairmont’s decision came after the MDH recommended its hybrid model remain in place.

“The overturn of Fairmont was huge for us because we are both are in Martin County," Elliot said. "They’ve actually had cases within their school and we haven’t had any. I feel that’s really big for Martin County West. That shows a lot about our kids, our staff and everyone that’s in or around our communities that we are taking COVID seriously.”

“I just want to say that for other schools out there that are having the trouble that we’re having - I just wish you the best and I hope that your school board will speak up and your community will do things like we are doing," Fiala said.

The school board hosts a special meeting on Thursday to discuss student athletic programs and extracurricular activities.

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