Calendar Changes Interfere with Sports
Last year, a week after the end of the school year, Stone Burke, junior, headed to the track and field State Championships. However, next year due to the House Bill 604, which passed on July 11, Burke might have to miss his final exams in order to attend the State meet again.
The Bill established that all Missouri schools will not be able to start earlier than Aug. 24, 14 days prior to Labor Day. Previously, the law was that schools couldn’t start earlier than 10 days before Labor Day, though schools could still start earlier if they held a public hearing pleading their case. However, after the new law goes into effect, this will no longer be an option. This change was made to benefit the tourism industry. However, it might have adverse effects to others.
“It might not be as beneficial as people think,” Burke said.
Burke said after the State meet, he only had a couple of weeks before cross country began their preseason practices in early June. While Burke said those practices are considered voluntary, he felt as if he had to go. With next year’s change the time between school, State meets and preseason practices will be even shorter.
Although the time left for vacationing and other summer activities like camp was short, Burke said he still traveled with his family. However, having even less time to do that next year could impact his season.
“I think it’s gonna hinder me a little because I’m going to be gone a lot,” Burke said. “I vacation towards the end of summer and that will shift so I feel like I’m going to have to miss more practices.”
He said if he makes State again next year, he might have to miss multiple final exams due to the change in the calendar.
“That wouldn’t be the best but you kind of have to deal with it I guess,” Burke said. “Take what’s given to you.”
Activities Director Shane Matzen said when it comes to student athletes taking final exams, the staff would do everything in their power to ensure that students can do so while also preparing for doing their best at competitions.
“We are going to make sure that our student athletes have the opportunity to take finals in a reasonable manner and accommodate the chance and the honor they have to go to State,” Matzen said.
He said the Missouri State High School Activities Association does not coordinate with any school districts to set up their schedule, rather the schedule is set so it can be easily referred to and kept consistent with the number of weeks required to be in play.
He said if the schedule was pushed back, it would derail all sports and therefore not allow spring seasons to end until late June or even July.
“From a coaching standpoint and a lot of times an athletic standpoint, it’s nice that you get all that prep work done and have total focus and don’t even have to worry about the school day,” Matzen said. “And when school starts you are ready to rock n’ roll with games at a normal schedule.”
Matzen said Rockwood is trying to find ways to make sure school doesn’t have to go too far into the summer by cutting down on break days and consolidating teacher professional days. So far, Matzen said, the school year is set to end June 3.
Matzen said next year will be an opportunity to see if the new schedule works and actually is beneficiary to the state. It will be an opportunity to change what’s not working and make adjustments for improvement.
Chris Kenny, varsity boys soccer head coach, said despite the change in time between school and sporting events, his approach to train his team will remain the same.
“We’ve been doing this a long time so we’ve gone through cycles where it’s been similar to that, not quite as late as the start date of school,” Kenny said. “But once you start practice, most of [the team] is kinda getting in a routine, so once you start school, it’s kind of secondary because you already have obligations that you’re dealing with.”
While Kenny said he doubts the change will impact student participation, he does think it allows more flexibility for coaches to make cuts, organize their team and divide their workload.
When it comes to both students and staff, Kenny said having time in the summer for their personal life will be the topic of worry.
“That’s the great concern— how do you balance all that stuff out,” Kenny said. “The idea with the later school start was to give families an opportunity to travel…but doing activities is a sacrifice.”
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