Good stuff from the Jonesboro Sun’s coverage of Jonesboro School Superintendent Kim Wilbanks’ speech to a local civic club:
The governor’s office, instead of educators, is pushing for the return of high school football, Jonesboro Public Schools Superintendent Kim Wilbanks said Wednesday.
“This is absolutely the most challenging year of my educational career ahead of us,” Wilbanks told members of the Jonesboro Kiwanis Club via Zoom.
So, for the first time in the history of my educational career, our educational organizations are not able to independently make decisions,” Wilbanks said, when asked if she was comfortable bringing back high school football this fall. “The governor’s office is trumping the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.”
Wilbanks said once a week, she hears what Gov. Asa Hutchinson is telling the schools, but not what educators are telling the governor.
“The Arkansas Activities Association has been asked nothing about playing football,” she said. Wilbanks serves on the AAA board of directors.
Playing football safely is going to be a struggle, she said.
“We struggle because we’ve been told kids will have to wear masks at recess, but we’re going to line up kids on Friday night face-to-face to play a football game?” she said.
While many of the players are distanced on the field, what about the linemen who line up face-to-face every play during a game, she asked.
“As the reopening has occurred, it has, very much so in our state, been based on economically-driven decisions, and the entire facet of sports is driven by economic decisions,” she said.
While the state’s proclamations give the impression that everything is better, Wilbanks said she is concerned about what playing football is going to mean for Jonesboro Public Schools.
“Imagine every Friday night, there’s a crowd in the stands,” she said. “What I have learned is that people in structured situations do what they are supposed to do, and in a non-structured situation they forget. They take off masks, they stand too close together. It is going to be a challenge on Friday nights.”
There’s a lot more. But also this:
“I’m sure two years from now, we’re going to look back and say, ‘what fools we were,’” she said.