One N.J. school reversed its decision on fall sports. But will it stick?

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The Manchester Regional Board of Education reversed an earlier decision and will compete in 2020 fall scholastic season.

Yet uncertainty still remains even after the result with a chance that the board could go back on that reversal.

The Board of Education voted, 3-2, to reinstate fall sports after announcing August 22 that it would begin the new school year on a fully remote, virtual schedule which cancelled fall sports and all extracurricular activities ’until further notice.’

However, four of the nine BOE members were not present for the virtual meeting Thursday night. The board will reconvene in a week on Sept. 10 and will put the decision to a vote once more.

An hour public session was held before the vote where parents, coaches and students voiced their concerns about the initial decision to cancel sports.

Manchester Regional athletic director and football coach Rande Roca said that the choice to not compete was a gut check that no one was prepared for, especially as the only Passaic County school to make that decision.

“In Passaic County, every single school is having fall sports except for Manchester,” Roca said during public comments. “A purpose came in their lives again (during summer workouts). (The coaches) all were out there and they wanted to do it for the kids and the community. It was going well but we got our legs chopped out from under us. We were doing it the right way, everyone was safe and we thought we were on our way back to a little bit of normalcy.”

Mental health and potential opportunities after scholastic life were some of the main talking points of those that were in favor of reinstating fall sports. Boys soccer coach Daniel Sanchez said that three of his players could potentially play in college and, without this season, could miss out on those chances.

The Colon family, whose son plays for the football team, sent a letter to the board for their support in reversing the initial decision. The return to practice before that decision, the letter said, saw vast improvements in mood his mood with a return to normalcy.

“We all want the same thing for our children and that’s their safety,” the letter, read by the board during the meeting, said.” We understand that completely. But we have to think of our kids in the aspect that they can have some type of normalcy. I personally saw a difference in my son (when practice began in the summer).”

A petition to reinstate fall sports was posted and had nearly 600 signatures.

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