CSD cancels extracurricular activities, students cope

Backlash against the districts reopening plans culminated in a letter to the board.

Backlash against the district’s reopening plans culminated in a letter to the board.

Alongside the cancellation of City Schools of Decatur (CSD) on March 12 stemming from concerns regarding COVID-19, all student extracurricular activities, including sports, were cancelled.

Early on Thursday, CSD canceled the seasons of all JV, Renfroe and freshmen teams. Originally, CSD stated, varsity games would be limited to those at the region or state level. Their stance then updated in an email, sent March 12, cancelling school indefinitely. In this, they announced the official cancellation of all extracurricular activities.   

In the advisement period on Thursday, around 10:30, an announcement was made declaring that 42nd Street, the drama production, was cancelled. Bailey Carr and Carrie Crespino, both sophomores, were devastated, along with their fellow cast and crew members. 

“On behalf of the cast and crew, we are absolutely heartbroken,” Carr said. “We put months of effort and passion into putting on a great show, only for it to be canceled the day before we were supposed to open.” 

Carr especially grieves for Decatur seniors, who may not have a chance to perform their last show with an audience present. 

“This whole situation has left me and many others feeling very disoriented. It was hard to wrap my head around how quickly everything came to a grinding halt,” Carr said. “I was ready to spend eight more shows with the people I love, but I had to say goodbye much sooner than I anticipated.”

Similar to many students, Carr and Crespino have hopes that if school resumes, so will their activities. 

“I’m hoping that once (if) school is back in session we will reschedule the show so we can actually show off our hard work in front of an audience,” Crespino said.

Emily Pollack, a member of the girls lacrosse team and the Mock Trial team, was “extremely disappointed” that both her beloved activities were placed on hold. As with most spring sports, the lacrosse season was just beginning and she was excited to participate in team bonding and develop as a team. 

As a senior, Pollack fears COVID-19 will mean the end of her high school career in both activities. 

Lauryn Williams, also a member of the Mock Trial team, was disappointed as well. Her disappointment stems from the immense amount of effort and time the team dedicated to the season in order to qualify for the Georgia state competition, along with seven other teams. Williams “would’ve just hoped for one last competition, [but] believes that the actions at DHS are justified as this virus has become a global pandemic.”

Similar to Pollack, junior baseball player Alden Wright is “especially saddened for [the baseball team’s] senior class” due to the amount of effort they had placed into the season. “To have it cut short is excruciating. Knowing that I may never step on the field with them again hurts,” he said.

Wright, Williams, Pollack, Carr and Crespino all believe CSD is justified in their decision considering the danger the virus poses to the population, especially the elderly.

Despite this, Wright regards the media and government as sensationalizing the severity of the virus. He perceives COVID-19 as analogous to the flu, and the publics’ reactions as being overblown, despite the Center for Disease Control and World Health Organizations statements’ to the contrary. 

Though Wright agrees school should remain online, he believes students “should be allowed to sign waivers to be able to participate in extracurricular activities.” He continues to go to the gym and play baseball, a “risk [he] is willing to take.” 

Comparable to Wright, Freshman JV lacrosse player Tallulah Wall feels the effects of COVID-19 aren’t personal to her. 

“I’m well aware it’s a problem and many people have died and will die,” Wall said. “It’s something that doesn’t feel real right now and even if I were to get there’s like a 0.01% chance I would die.” 

Crespino, on the other hand, acts, not out of fear for herself, but of that for loved ones. 

“I try to only hang out with one or two friends at a time, and try not to touch any surfaces that are in public spaces,” Crespino said. “This isn’t about me. Chances are, I’ll get the disease and be fine. But being exposed to so many people could really hurt someone I love, and I’m not willing to sacrifice them.”

Similarly, Carr believes, with self-quarantining and social distancing, humans can overcome COVID-19.

“While panic-shopping for toilet paper is pretty excessive, we have to keep in mind that this is a pandemic,” Carr said. “Self-quarantining and social isolation are effective ways to prevent the spread of the disease and make sure the number of cases doesn’t surpass our healthcare system’s capacity.”

As an extrovert, Carr finds social isolation to be unpleasant and difficult to maintain. 

“Luckily, I have my parents to keep me in check,” she said. “They’re allowing me to spend time with no more than four people so long as I stay six feet away from them, avoid sharing food or drinks, and wash my hands often.”

Considering students have varying levels of needs, Carr supposes that the cancellation affects some students disproportionately. She then believes that DHS should work to “meet the needs of students who rely on going to school every day, whether for food, shelter, or emotional support from the student center.” 

All students who reached out are limiting social interactions and observing social distancing to some extent. 

Since the initial email by CSD which cancelled school and extracurricular activities indefinitely, there has been no further comment on resuming extracurriculars if and when CSD schools reopen.  


* Note: all extracurriculars were not discussed within this article. The students who reached out can’t testify to all extracurriculars, only theirs.