HAVERHILL — The following is a statement from Superintendent Maureen Lynch regarding the district’s decision not to hold a Fall II sports season this school year:
“We know how meaningful sports are for our students and how much they have had to do without this year because of this pandemic, and the decision not to hold a Fall II sports season was a tremendously difficult one for our district. While this decision is a deep disappointment for many, we made this decision for several reasons.
“First and foremost, we have not held sports since March 2020 — out of an abundance of caution, we have continued to prioritize the health and well-being of our students, coaches and the broader Whittier Tech community amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are further limited by the amount of space physically available to us to hold a Fall II sports season. In a normal fall sports season at the beginning of the school year, we have several fields available to us to hold practices and games. We simply don’t have the same level of access to those resources during the winter months because of snow, ice and other factors. We also can’t use our gym and lobby as practice spaces, further limiting our resources, because we are using those locations as lunchrooms to meet the need for social distancing due to the pandemic.
“In order to have an equitable sports season, we would be tasked with providing locations and time for practices and games, resources which we do not have. If we can’t offer a sports season to all Fall II athletes, we’re not having one at all because it simply wouldn’t be equitable.
“We are hopeful, should COVID-19 case numbers stay down in our 11 sending communities, that we may be able to offer a spring sports season. We are also confident that students will be able to come to school in-person more in the coming weeks and months, perhaps full-time by the end of the school year.
“My heart truly goes out to our student-athletes — it is not lost on any of us how unfortunate these circumstances are. The past year has been one of enormous sacrifice and loss for the entire world. It is our hope brighter days are on the horizon for us all, and we continue to be thankful for the cooperation and patience of our students, parents, guardians, faculty and staff.”