High school student-athletes in Kent rally for a return to sports as soon as possible

The battle continues over allowing high school sports and balancing public health guidelines.

Dozens of student-athletes and parents held a rally outside the Kent School District, where you could hear repeated chants from the crowd shouting "let us play." All of them are in support of a return to sports a soon as it’s allowed.

"They need to facilitate it, and I’ll do the parenting and decide whether my kid is on the field or not," said one parent during the rally.

"All we’re asking for them to let us do is opt-in, in case the numbers are good enough for us to play so we can compete to earn scholarship, raise our mental health and just be a lot happier than we are right now," said another student who was leading the rally.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) produced a modified three-season schedule that can start as soon as February 1.

Kent’s four high schools are in the North Puget Sound League, which is planning to resume the football season on March 1 and all other sports a week later on March 8.

However, the Kent School District isn’t making any promises. The only guarantee so far, is that middle and high school sports will not start any sooner than February 22.

On its website, the school district writes, "A final decision on a return date will be based on public health guidance, the spread of the virus in our community, and bargaining with our labor partners."

Student-athletes in Kent are concerned they’ll be left further behind other neighboring school districts that will allow some forms of practice and conditioning outdoors.

"Kent School District, please listen and give these kids an opportunity to navigate what a sport will look like," said parent, Melanie Manning. "It really isn’t about the competition, it’s about them wanting to play their skill that they’ve worked so hard for and supporting each other."

The school district said it will continue to update this page of their website regarding the status of the Kent School District Athletics.