MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Members of the Monongalia County community rallied together on Saturday in hopes of forcing change upon the way the color-coded map’s numbers are retrieved.
September 3 was supposed to be the first high school football game for Trinity Christian High School, but due to where Trinity is located in Mon County, the Warriors opponents decided to forfeit the game due to safety concerns.
Then on the following Friday, football games scheduled for University, Clay-Battelle and Morgantown were abruptly canceled after Mon County entered the red zone.
This caused Mon County schools and athletics to be shut down for that week and the week to follow.
The motive behind Saturday’s rally was clear- Monongalia County schools want to play sports and they want their voices heard.
Ralliers demand consistency. Many participants joined the rally because they believe the West Virginia State Department of Education’s color-coded map is unfair due to the overwhelming Covid-19 cases coming from WVU students that are factored into the Mon County numbers.
“Just to draw attention to the double standard that seems to be happening and I think the lack of transparency from our leadership in terms of the metrics and how they’re come by and I think at some point some logic needs to be applied to those metrics,” Jason Lawrence, parent of an Morgantown High School athlete, said.
Parents, coaches and athletes of Mon County schools that were at the rally were outraged, especially because the state of West Virginia’s largest university is allowed to play, yet high school students are not.
“I think that they should play but also our kids should have the opportunity to play. If someone takes my wallet, it;s not that I want everyone else’s wallets taken, I would just like my wallet back. And for my son, I would like to have him to have the opportunity everyone in the surrounding counties has and that’s to go out and do things that a normal sophomore in high school is able to do,” Mike Teets, parent of a Trinity Christian athlete, said.
Schools that would normally be rivals on the field have now banded together at the rally in hopes that a fall sports season will be played.
“It means a lot. Because we’re just sitting around, no motivation and the seniors don’t get their season, we’ve worked hard all summer to get shut down. And as of right now we can’t play and a lot of people are losing out on college and it’s just bigger than football,” Corbin Turney, a University football player, said.
A big emphasis the ralliers aimed to make is how big of an impact WVU students’ positive cases have on the numbers used to decide where Mon County stands on the color coded map. They want these numbers separated.
“Nobody can come out and tell us exactly how they’re being calculated. You know, they’re being counted, OK I understand that but I don’t think they’re being counted in terms of our census. And so it seems to be a bit of a double-standard there that their positive cases count towards us but their census doesn’t and there’s a lot of students living in Morgantown that are not commuters so, I think that needs to be looked at in a fair manner,” Lawrence said.
Mon County schools now must play the waiting game whether it’s waiting to see if they will play in the upcoming weeks or waiting to see if a change is made to how the numbers are calculated.