WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - Students will be back in the classroom at Arlington Public Schools next week, but they found out Wednesday sports and other extracurricular activities are temporarily being put on hold.
"It’s just very frustrating," said Elijah Hughes, a member of the Washington-Liberty High School basketball team.
"It was shocking," echoed Mason Cunningham, who plays three sports for Yorktown High. "We had practice earlier that day, and I found out like five hours later."
Several parents told Fox 5 they disagree with the decision given that Arlington student athletes are tested for COVID daily and the district has a vaccination requirement for student athletes too.
But district officials feel differently.
A spokesperson provided a statement Thursday, reading in part, "we don’t take these decisions lightly."
It continued, "In this case in looking at the data, we saw that even with athletics testing there were 140 positives reported among student athletes in the past 7 days. That’s a significant increase, so as a precaution we are pausing temporarily as we reopen school and assess the impact of the winter break and variant."
Some parents took to social media in support of the district, with one simply writing, "thank you."
Others had a more nuanced response.
The group Arlington Parents for Education praised APS for bringing students back into the classroom, but added, "APS’ decision to "pause" sports and extracurriculars for two weeks, its decision not to implement TTS, and its deviations from CDC guidance, are concerning. APS’ "abundance of caution" approach to COVID imposes real costs on our students—costs not being borne by students in neighboring jurisdictions—costs that are only justified by scientifically supported evidence that the actions taken will improve safety. APS’ announcement provides no such support."
The district spokesperson also told Fox 5 he believes Virginia Department of Health guidance supports cancelling sports and other extracurricular activities "because of the higher-priority need to ensure access to in-person learning."