ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. -- A group of parents are planning to rally outside tonight's Lucia Mar Unified School Board of Education meeting to ask board members to start athletic conditioning immediately.
"We're just asking tonight they make a motion to return our students to athletics immediately so the kids can get back to doing what they love," said Shannon Galvan, a parent of two Arroyo Grande High School athletes. "Our students have been without school and sports for almost six months and athletics is a vital part of a lot of our students lives. It's very important to their physical and emotional wellbeing.
Galvan recently created a new Facebook group called "Lucia Mar Athletic Families" in an effort to convince the school board that high school sports activities should begin as soon as possible, rather than wait six more weeks.
Currently, the school district is targeting Oct. 5 as the start date for the opening of limited in-person athletic activities.
"There's no reason they can't be doing it now," said Galvan. "The sooner they get back, the better off they're all going to be. The healthier it is for them. We would like to see it immediately."
In the agenda report for tonight's meeting, the district states Oct. 5 is a the most reasonable start date to reopen athletics due to several reasons.
"There's a ton of logistical factors," said Dr. Paul Fawcett, Lucia Mar Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources. It's not something that can be done overnight. We do need to make sure we train our staff in all the new policies and procedures so that they're ready to receive the student-athletes and to bring them back."
Fawcett, who will take over as superintendent on Oct. 1, added the district's safety plan was recently approved by the San Luis Obispo Department of Public Health last week.
"The district shares that passion that our parents do," said Fawcett. "We truly want the kids back as soon as we're able to get them back, competing, having fun, there's a huge social and emotional aspect to this that we know athletics provides to not only our students and staff, but also our community abroad, and we're looking forward to doing that as soon as we can do it safely."
In July, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) announced it is planning to begin competition for high school athletics on Dec. 28, 2020.
Members in the Lucia Mar Athletic Families group are pointing out other schools and school districts have already started activities, or are planning to do so in the near future.
St. Joseph High School and Mission Prep Academy are both currently holding conditioning activities, while the Lompoc Unified School District is planning to start Sept. 8.
The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District announced Tuesday it will allow practices to begin Sept. 21.
"There's different requirements across different counties," said Fawcett. "I can't speak to those. I can only speak to our local county and our local jurisdiction. We just submitted and received approval for athletic plan on August 27th."
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, members of the public are not allowed to attend Tuesday's meeting inside the board room.
Galvan said members of her Facebook group will be outside in an effort their voice will be heard.
"It's time to get our kids back to doing what they love," said Galvan. "We're hoping they're getting a lot of public comment on the topic and that they will take that into consideration and do what's right for the kids and get them back to sports as soon as possible."
Tonight's meeting can be viewed live on the Lucia Mar YouTube channel.
Since Lucia Mar staff is only presenting a report to board members tonight, the board is not expected to take any action.
The meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.