Dear Editor:

Last week, the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League Board of Managers voted to overturn a previous decision denying postseason athletics, citing significantly improved COVID-19 health conditions. The vote clears the way for SCVAL student athletes to participate in postseason play and leaves the Peninsula Athletic League, which includes Half Moon Bay High School student athletes, idle while others play.

On April 2, the PAL board voted to deny postseason play for “Season Two” sports in a close vote with no opportunity for public input. Despite public outcry after the vote was made public, unlike SCVAL, the PAL board has not yet reconsidered its stance.

Because the PAL provided no agenda, no meeting minutes and, most critically, no public input, students and fans are left guessing at their justification.

– Health conditions? San Mateo County is now in the yellow tier with fewer than 2 daily cases per 100,000 residents, the CDC has rolled back requirements for vaccinated people, and San Mateo County and neighboring counties report about 75 percent of residents 16 and older fully vaccinated.

– Testing? Many schools have been successfully testing athletes and coaches multiple times per week to document no COVID positives.

– Scheduling Conflicts? Given the past year, it would seem that we can collectively overcome whatever obstacles exist.

PAL teams faced challenges providing engaging experiences for their student athletes. Indoor sports, in particular, faced rigorous testing requirements to ensure safe play. Traditional league schedules were scrapped leaving schools on their own to build a schedule. In the face of these challenges, some schools rose to this challenge, added staff and engaged volunteers to conduct testing several times a week. They instituted common-sense safety protocols to give their student athletes a healthy and invigorating outlet amidst a year in which so much was lost.

Rather than allowing schools to make individual choices based on their unique circumstances and capacity to build their own schedule and enact the required health and safety protocols, PAL decided on an “all or nothing” approach denying all teams postseason play.

The PAL must recognize the rapidly improving health and vaccination conditions. The PAL must provide transparency and an opportunity for our student athletes and fans to be heard. The PAL must step up to accomplish what’s doable instead of what’s not.

Teresa McWhirt

Half Moon Bay

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