Rhinelander school board approves fall sports plan
By Eileen Persike
Rhinelander fall sports and other extracurricular activities have been given the green light. The school board voted Monday night to approve the fall sports plan presented by Activities Director Brian Paulson. The plan follows WIAA guidelines and was created in conjunction with the district’s medical advisory team.
Several students attended the special meeting. Senior Quinn Lamers addressed the school board, saying sports are important to athletes as well as the community and will bring back a feeling of normalcy.
“We don’t know when everything will be completely back to normal which is why we must try to bring a sense of normalcy back to our community,” Lamers said. “I know that each and every one of you has had experiences that you cherish from your high school years. All we ask is for the same opportunity.”
The plan has several phases related to contact and rules for practices. Paulson said the plan has been in effect since July. Three fall sports – cross country, girls swimming and girls tennis – are currently practicing. Soccer, volleyball and football are scheduled to begin Sept. 7. The plan also includes contingencies, should the district have to close schools.
Superintendent Eric Burke told the board he thought the plan was a good one that encouraged the athletes to be responsible for following the rules set forth by the coaches and to be role models in the community as the district works to slow the spread of the virus.
“There are never any guarantees and I get that,” Burke said. “But I believe that not providing this opportunity would be a mistake and the plan we have here is a good one.”
The motion to approve the fall sports plan was passed by the board 7-1. Mike Roberts, who is a coach in the district, abstained and Ann Eshelman voted against.