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The Mission CISD Board of Trustees is leaving the decision on fall sports up to the superintendent.
This week, the district held a regular meeting to discuss the athletic schedule for the fall, which had been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Mission Consolidated Independent School District sent a survey out to parents to see how they would feel about fall sports.
According to MCISD Deputy Superintendent for Support Services Lorena Garcia, the district is still at a level one emergency response due to the rates in Hidalgo County. Garcia said the city of Mission, as of Wed. Sept. 9, has had a total of 4,495 confirmed COVID-19 cases, or 5.3 percent of the population.
Garcia presented data on other local school districts, the majority of which are still pending in their decision. In an anonymous survey given to 110 MCISD coaching staff, 98 employees responded.
The questions included which start date they would feel comfortable in resuming in-person sports. 58 employees said they would respond to working in-person, while 40 would prefer to continue teaching online.
“It was about a 60/40 split,” Garcia said.
She noted that as part of the health and safety guidelines available, they asked if coaching staff would be able to comply with the social distancing expectations once in-person games began.
“91.84 percent said yes,” Garcia said. “A little bit over 8 percent said no.”
Garcia then presented the findings of the survey sent out to the parents of MCISD secondary athletes. 1,634 surveys were sent out, and 446 people responded.
“327 of those responses were a yes [for in-person athletics] and 119 indicated no,” Garcia said. “We did see a lot of parents that did not respond to the survey.”
According to the district, the results showed about 60% of respondents indicating they would have their children participate in in-person athletics if the district offers them. Board member Patty O’caña-Olivarez said she was concerned and surprised in the minimal participation from parents.
“It’s just a comment, but we publicized this, there were phone trees for the surveys letting parents know a survey was sent out,” O’caña-Olivarez said, noting she wanted to know specifically if the parents of varsity athletes responded from the high schools.
Garcia broke down how each school, sport and gender responded, and said 225 of the responses were from high school parents.
Board member Petra Ramirez said they never had a conversation as to whether they would have fall sports.
“We’ve always been waiting until we got closer to the 28th of September to see how we are in this pandemic,” Ramirez said. “These surveys are legitimate, and the only thing is maybe some people didn’t get the survey. We have not made the decision, but we’re discussing it. We should make the decision closer to the 28th.”
Board member Dr. Sonia Treviño said their job was to take care of their kids with curriculum, and there was no action needed at this point. Ramirez said the coaches need to have legitimate plans to ensure the virus is not spread to coaches, teachers or students.
The weekend of Sat. Aug. 29, some of the parents of MCISD athletes held petition signings and rallies advocating for their students to be allowed to play in-person sports in the fall. MCISD staff asked for feedback on whether or not the board would take action on the item, or if the authority would be given to Superintendent Dr. Carol G. Perez.
“We know that instruction and athletics is within the realm of the administration and superintendent as part of decision-making,” Perez said. “It is not part of board policy, so in reality the reason it was posted on the agenda is so we would have a forum to also provide information in more detail.”
Perez said the responsibility legally rests on the administration and superintendent.
“We need to continue to monitor the situation,” Perez said. “We have data, so within the next week or so we are able to provide information to parents, students and staff.”
The authority to make a final determination regarding in-person athletics will rest with the Superintendent Perez.
According to the district, Dr. Perez said the district will continue to monitor local COVID-19 conditions, and any decisions in the coming days would be based upon conditions and ongoing stakeholder input.