Parents, athletes hold rally in support of practices

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MISHAWAKA, Ind.-- After a football player tested positive for COVID-19, Penn High School made the decision to cancel football practices.

Superintendent of Penn-Harris-Madison schools, Jery Thacker said that this decision wasn’t an easy one to make.

“What we want to do is make sure as we looked at that, that we’re thinking of the climate, the temperature, the different kinds of cases in the county and such,” Thacker said. “The school board and administration, our highest priority is safety, and like how do we make sure we prevent the spread of coronavirus.”

Canceling football practices devastated both the football players and their parents.

“The initial reaction all the way around was shock. The boys left the field crying, very upset our seniors were having a very hard time with it,” PHM teacher and Penn football mom Marci Messer said.

Football moms planned a rally outside of the school to try and get the administration to reconsider.

However, what was planned as a plea for change, turned to a rally of celebration after Penn announced that practices would resume during the second week of August!

“It started off of course as a plea to please let the sports be reinstated,” Messer said. “I think we’ve now kind of turned it into a joyous event being thankful and just being thankful that people heard us, knew that were really needing this are listening to what we have to say.”

Thacker said that the administration is working on providing additional steps to ensure that practices and games are safe for players and coaches.

“If we have a case can we know what to do with all of that, which quarantined and such but how do we ensure, is there one extra step we can look at, so we are looking at that right now,” Thacker said.

Penn parents now feeling grateful that their football stars can return to that little bit of normalcy again, with being back on the field with their teammates.

“Knowing that you know they’re going to get to be out there, this is so important for a lot of kids, this is kind of their outlet when they’ve got things going on at home and this is a safe zone for them and i honestly feel like they’re safer here than any other place,” Messer said.

An email with further instruction and details moving forward with practices will be sent out to Penn parents.

Football practice will resume Tuesday, August 11.

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