Many Olathe, Blue Valley parents happy about sports but still pushing for in-person learning | FOX 4 Kansas City WDAF-TV

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OLATHE, Kan. — High school athletes on the Kansas side of the metro will be taking to the courts and fields for the first time since the pandemic began. 

Olathe and Blue Valley school districts have both decided students can resume practices and competition for fall sports and activities. 

But some parents say the fight over back-to-school plans isn’t over yet.

For weeks, hundreds of students and parents have protested and spoken at lengthy school board meetings, pleading for sports and activities to be allowed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We all want to do what’s best and safest for the children, for the teachers, for the coaches, but we’ve got to let them play and let them be kids,” said Andrea Resnik, a Blue Valley High School parent.

Resnik said her son and daughter have coped with online learning but that their social and emotional health have suffered without their peers and sports.

“That social interaction is everything, especially in high school. You’re trying to find out where you fit and what that means to you and who you are and doing that alone at home and online is whole different ball game,” Resnik said.

She’s thrilled Blue Valley Schools apparently listened to those concerns. The district announced Friday that fall sports and activities can resume practices and games. High-risk sports will still require additional precautions, and teams can’t leave the Kansas City metro to compete.

“It’s going to make it survivable for our household just to have that opportunity that at the end of the day, they get to go up to the school and do what they love to do, what they’ve been passionate about for so many years,” said Michelle Mitchell, a Blue Valley Northwest parent.

Although Mitchell called the decision to allow activities in both Blue Valley and Olathe schools a “win,” she knows many families, including hers, still have another big fight ahead over in-person learning.

“We just need to evaluate what’s truly going on in school age demographic and finish this and go back as soon as possible into the classroom,” Mitchell said.

Johnson County districts are expected to take a look at how coronavirus cases are trending in about three weeks, and that could determine how both classes and sports proceed moving forward.

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