By Shawn Chitnis

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Students and their families from Northern Colorado high schools traveled to the offices of Colorado High School Activities Association leaders on Monday to call on a change in policies for fall sports during the COVID-19 pandemic so they include football and volleyball. 

“I thought it was important to be here because every voice matters and I think the more voices that can be heard, the bigger change that we have,” said Sara Wiley, a senior at Akron High School.  “There are going to be risks no matter what we do and if we take the proper precautions that we should be able to have a season.” 

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(credit: CBS)

Students waved and held signs on all corners of the intersection in front of the CHSAA building in Aurora in the morning. One parent told CBS4 they tried to get closer to the main office but the doors were locked. These families traveled into the Denver metro area just to bring more awareness to their frustration about a pending decision by the governing body for high school sports in the state. Students across Colorado have voiced similar concerns in the past week while the governor’s office and CHSAA say they’re discussing what might be possible in the fall. 

“I feel like sports are really important to high school and kids health mentally and physically,” said Tanner True, a senior at Eaton High School. “I just don’t see the reason why we can’t play if we can go to school, there shouldn’t be any difference in us playing sports and going to school.” 

CHSAA announced in August it would split up sports into three different seasons for the upcoming school year pushing football into the spring. Last week, the organization announced it resubmitted proposals to the governor. An official told CBS4 on Monday they did not have anything new to announce about the process as they wait to hear back from the state’s COVID-19 Response Team. Students say with the school year already in session, they worry about waiting any longer to start a team schedule of games. 

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“I don’t have any fears, our school is completely open, and almost every single person at school and there hasn’t been a single case of COVID,” said Jenna White, a senior at Wiggins High School. “It’s really important to get the decision over soon.”

These students say their districts are practicing in-person learning so their exposure to other is already happening daily, they do not believe adding sports will increase their risk. They also worry about the impact losing sports will have on their generation. These are athletes who have worked for years to get to senior status and enjoy the height of their high school careers. 

“Colorado has one of the lowest numbers in the country and yet every state around Colorado is playing,” said Collin Russell, a senior at Strasburg High School. “Since I was a little kid, I’ve watched Friday nights at my school and just dreamed like I get to be a senior one day, I get to be one of those kids and then this year it just gets ripped from me.”

The risk involved with close contact does not worries these students, they say the potential spread of the coronavirus is not a major concern. They are more focused on the potential loss of a season they will never get back and the impact it will have on their futures, including their college plans. 

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“Going through high school, I’ve been taught that sports is not just a competition,” said Wiley. “You learn many life lessons and you’re taking away those life lessons this year.”

Shawn Chitnis