Letters to the Editor
May 6, 2009
(Editor’s note: Some of the letters reprinted below were also addressed to officials at the Park City Board of Education and Park City High School.)
Game forfeits would be grossly unfair
If you have any say or voice in these matters, please slow down, stop, think, and inject some common sense and logic into these recent decisions to close the school and cancel every sporting event associated with PCHS. Erring on the side of caution seems like a reasonable thing to do, but this broad sweeping decision seems more a paranoid reaction than one based on medical science or common sense. It is not the flu that is spreading around, but paranoia and the decisions that accompany that. How about just using a little common sense here?
Everyone is impacted here, from the students primed and ready to take college AP exams that have been cancelled, to the senior prom, and every spring sport including baseball, soccer, and track and field.
The students here are hugely and unfairly impacted because none of the other state schools are doing anything like Park City has chosen to do. We are also entering a time for all the state playoffs and championships. This is ruining many students’ dreams and for the seniors, their last chance in competitive team sports and the opportunity for a state title. To force these kids to forfeit all their remaining games is grossly unfair and lacks any reason or common sense in doing so.
Recommended Stories For You
My understanding is that different strains of flu have been around for many years, if not forever. Is this a particularly deadly version of the flu? I don’t think so. What happens if you are sick: stay home; if not, go to school?
Our son is on the PCHS baseball team that is battling for first place and the number-one seed in the state playoffs. Being outside playing baseball is probably one of the healthiest choices that he could be doing right now. If every other school was doing the same thing by closing the doors and canceling all activities, it might be a little different. Unfortunately, Park City has unilaterally closed its doors in what may be a very big overreaction. Again, I ask that a little common sense be used and applied when making these sweeping decisions.
I feel there is little, if any, risk at all and that our athletes in all sports be allowed to continue to practice and play against all the other schools that are continuing to practice, play and have not followed the same course of action that just may be a little overdone here in Park City.
Let’s minimize the paranoia, put some common sense in our decision-making, and immediately let the kids and their outdoor sports continue.
Steve Shapard Park City
Parent of Chris Shapard, PCHS baseball
Players could miss chance of a lifetime
As of this writing, we are aware of one confirmed case of the H1N1 virus now in Park City. Because of this, there is word getting out (unofficially) that our spring sports are facing the possibility of having their remaining games forfeited, of playoff participation canceled. And as several of our team sports have accomplished much this season, the chances of their finishing the season and possibly being barred from playing in their respective postseason playoffs may be in jeopardy.
As of this (Monday) morning, the H1N1 virus is currently found in 19 states, and approximately 141 cases have been documented. Although this is a virus to be cautious about, we respect the decisions of the Park City School District to close the district as a precautionary measure. Yet as we are the only school in Utah to close their district and postpone all school-related sports activities, we do feel unjustly persecuted by the USHAA, by possibly having to forfeit remaining games and be excluded from state playoff competition in our respective sports.
To subject one school district to possible forfeiture of their spring seasons, and possibly tournament play would be very unfortunate. Many of our graduating seniors will not have the opportunity to close out their high school athletic careers as their predecessors have; and we also need to consider the top-tier athletes many who are still being recruited and evaluated by college coaches and scouts. To deny them this opportunity may have lifelong repercussions.
At present, we are not aware of any PCHS baseball player to have contracted the H1N1 virus, and an informal poll of many of the baseball families indicates a willingness to be tested prior to further play to ensure the safety of other players, the players and coaches from opposing teams, and officials.
In closing, we understand the timing of the school closure is unfortunate, but we have to encourage those looking into the matter to use good judgment to develop a solution that will eventually allow each athletic team to finish their season, and compete in state playoffs if they are qualified to do so. To do otherwise would penalize only the athletes, families of the Park City School District. We support the decisions of the Park City School District, and look forward to hearing an update of their discussions with the USHAA.
Don’t let flu fears derail dream season
As parents of a Park City High School senior athlete impacted by the recent decision to close the school and suspend/cancel further athletic competitions due to the H1N1 virus, we urge you to support the efforts of the school’s administration to reverse the decision, and let our kids play.
Our son is a baseball player, co-captain, and one of nine seniors on the baseball team. He’s played baseball since he could walk, and has played with most of the other seniors on his team his entire career. As families we have supported our kids, traveling around the state to be able to play outside, endured humbling losses and celebrated precious victories. This year, the boys have a shot at not just a regional championship, but a state championship. Some will go on to play ball in college, others will not, but all are passionate in their desire to play their best for their school and their team, families and community. For some, playing in these state championship tournament games may be their last shot at exposure to college scouts, and where and if they play ball in college. These boys are healthy, and willing to be tested for H1N1 to reassure teammates and opponents. The boys and their families are willing to do whatever it takes so that this team can finish their season. They have invested so much, and to dismiss it because of unsubstantiated fear would be tragic.
Heidi & Bob Hughes
Don’t deny seniors their last chance
My name is Marshall Crawford and I am a senior on the Park City High School baseball team. This postseason is the last time I will be playing with this group of kids, and all of us just want the chance to compete in the tournament. Please let us play our last games as seniors before we go to college.
Let the kids play ball
My name is Michael Crawford. My son, Marshall, is a senior at Park City High School. Please consider his plea and that of his teammates to be able to compete. Thank you in advance for your consideration of our requests. I know your job is not only difficult at times but also very complex. An overreaction to not letting the students play would be just as irresponsible as not doing anything considering the positive tests, if we follow the CDC’s recommendations to not overreact but to follow their guidelines of limiting the threat of spreading. Those recommendations include hand washing, staying away from sick people, and getting tested immediately if symptoms are present. I believe as a school district working with the health department we can facilitate athletic events without endangering our children. Thanks for taking the time to read our letters.
Let the kids play!
Influenza is no cause for hysteria
As a parent of a Park City High School senior, I am urging the school’s administration to please make sure that the baseball team in Park City continues to finish their winning season. It would be a shame if these boys were not allowed to finish region play, go to the playoffs and hopefully finish first in state. There are nine seniors on this team that deserve to be heard from and their parents. These boys are not sick, there are no confirmations from the high school, and this flu is not any more virulent than the "normal" type A influenza.
I know that the boys and the parents are willing to do whatever it takes so that this team can finish their season as it started years and years ago. These boys have worked so hard and long and to dismiss it because someone is fearful is, at the least, overreactive and short-sighted.
Let’s sit down and have an open dialogue with common sense and factual information to come to a conclusion that would allow the boys to finish their season and also calm everyone’s fears.
If we had had a confirmation of the type A influenza in Park City, would we be closing schools for days? Having this hysteria? We have cases of influenza every year by the dozens. We write letters home explaining precautions to parents, get back to normal activities and move forward. I believe that the community has been given plenty of warning, know what to look for and also know what to expect.
I also believe as a community that they would support the PCHS sports teams to be allowed to finish their seasons. Many have college scholarships on the line and coaches coming to watch them play in the state playoffs. It would be a shame for these kids who have not only excelled in school, but also in sports, be turned away from one of the most memory filled weeks of their high school careers.
Please let’s work together to see their dreams come full circle.
Have officials thought of ramifications?
My name is Lee Morin, a Park City, Utah resident, and parent of a graduating senior at Park City High School. I am writing to share with you my concerns as to how the UHSAA (Utah High School Activities Association and the Park City School District) may be considering the cancellation of the spring sports schedules, due to today’s (Saturday’s) confirmation that a Park City student has contracted H1N1 virus.
As most families in Park City, we applaud the decision of the district to close district schools. However, in doing so, the decision may also possibly cause the district and UHSAA to cancel the spring sports of baseball, soccer, golf, tennis, and women’s softball, thereby forfeiting all remaining games during the regular season, and as a result, potentially missing the opportunity to qualify for the upcoming state 3A tournaments.
Should this decision come true, we as parents feel that the district and the UHSAA have not entirely thought through the ramifications of their decisions. There are several athletes who are currently being evaluated for college scholarships and other professional opportunities to play in their chosen sport (or activity), and many of these evaluations and visits by college coaches and scouts typically occur at the end of the regular season and post-season tournament play. Therefore, there is a possibility that these athletes’ collegiate and professional careers are in jeopardy.
Should you have any interest in throwing a spotlight on this issue, we would greatly appreciate your assistance.
Lee Morin Park City
Healthy students are biggest victims
In the spirit of doing what’s best for the youth of Park City schools, I support the advice of Utah Governor Huntsman & state health officials, as well as President Obama and our national CDC health officials, to remain calm and not panic, to be vigilant, but not overreact and take precautions by following swine-flu safety tips. Recognizing the magnitude of the decisions you have to make, I hope you will please lend a student’s point-of-view and consideration to the overwhelming majority of youth who are not sick, contagious or have not been exposed. The Park City High School students, particularly the seniors, both academically and sports-wise, have all worked very hard and for them this will be their last opportunity to participate in activities that are being cancelled. Many will lose college placement and scholarship opportunities at universities who have shown interest in them.
It seems that while all of our school, health and athletic officials have the students’ best interest, health and welfare in mind, the high school students who are not sick are the ones that have been and continue to be the biggest victims of this serious situation. Hopefully, the decision to err on the side of caution, by closing all Park City schools and canceling all activities last Thursday (state soccer playoffs, track, baseball, softball, prom events, etc.) and now through at least May 10, will not continue to eliminate these memorable experiences for our seniors.
With today’s global and mobile society (who is to say who is potentially contagious with this flu?), it would be impossible to isolate Park City schools as the only infected area and say the rest of Utah (except Judge Memorial) is immune to any potential swine flu or contagious persons. It would seem discriminatory to exclude the Park City High School soccer team from competing in the state 3A soccer tournament, when our players are not ill (and would be willing to be tested) and are as healthy and non-contagious as any other team in the tournament.
Since Park City played Wasatch just last Monday and Wasatch played Delta and won on Thursday, and then Wasatch played and lost to Logan on Saturday, wouldn’t that make Logan an infected (contagious) team and thus barred from playing? The Logan High School soccer players are no more infected indirectly from the Park City High School soccer players than the Park City soccer players are infected indirectly from the one middle school Park City student that tested positive. Who could even contemplate, let alone isolate and track, all of the Salt Lake Valley residents that have visited Park City or Park City residents that have visited Salt Lake. Both areas have friends, relatives, and groups that have mingled, visited restaurants, movies, parks or group events together in the last two weeks. Were Park City students the only ones from Utah that have visited Mexico in the last three weeks? Again, common sense and taking precautions seem logical in this situation.
Yes, my son is a senior at Park City High School and a player on the varsity Soccer team and I plead on his behalf and all other students and sports competitors that you do whatever it takes to postpone and reschedule games, events and activities for the benefit and enjoyment by our youth. With confidence, I can assure you that your dedicated efforts to make the state 3A soccer tournament a reality for the Park City High School varsity soccer team will forever be appreciated by each player, coach and parent of these fine and deserving young men.
Thank you for your dedication, efforts and desire to do what is best for our Park City youth. Your resolve to reach a positive solution and allow the Park City boys’ soccer team compete in the 3A soccer tournament, as well as the other qualifying 3A schools, will not soon be forgotten. Please let us know if there is anything we can do. Again, thank you.
It was the best Park City Follies ever
The Park City Follies at The Egyptian this past weekend was simply terrific. Not only was it hilarious, but the writers, actors, singers and dancers as well as all the support crew that made the sets and video were amazingly talented. As Juan Samarich used to proclaim at the closing ceremonies of the Olympics, the cast of the Park City Follies have presented to the world the best Park City Follies ever. It was great entertainment and I would like to thank everyone that worked so hard to make it so entertaining this year.
For those that didn’t get the chance to see this year’s Park City Follies, you can see it this Saturday and Sunday 7 to 9:30a.m. on Park City Television. It won’t be the same as being in the Egyptian watching it live but for those that missed it, it will give you a chance to see the most talented writing & cast the Park City Follies has ever had.
Stanton D. Jones
Selection process raises concerns
Choosing a new judge is serious business. Most important is that the judge is chosen in the right way. In other words, the procedure followed by those who chose the judge is just as important as the end result.
The county has recently chosen a new judge. But many people, me included, are not happy with the procedure followed by those who chose the new judge. Shauna Kerr may be a good person, but those who chose her to be the judge did not take their responsibility seriously. I did not apply to be the new judge, but my wife and I know two good people who did, and they didn’t even get a letter thanking them for applying, let alone an invitation to come and be interviewed.
Now, because of the way the new judge was chosen, it will be very hard for the new judge to look people in the eye when she tries to tell them the difference between right and wrong.