Coaches, pediatricians think youth sports can resume while Caldwell won’t budge

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — In Honolulu, organized outdoor sports fall under the same category of activity as bars and nightclubs.

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Tier four of the City and County’s reopening strategy won’t be allowed until there is less than 20 cases over two weeks of less than 20 cases of COVID-19 per day with less than 1% positivity rate.

This is in addition to the 10 weeks of stipulations to get into tiers one, two, and extra two weeks spent in tier three.

By Mayor Caldwell’s metrics organized outdoor sports are closed until tier four, and won’t be allowed until Dec. 17 at the earliest.

“We’re not rushing,” Caldwell said at his press conference Monday. “We’re not going to compare ourselves with some other city or state on the continent. We’re looking at what is the best interest of the people of this island, and the keiki of this island.”

Dr. Amy Harpstrite, a pediatrician, disagrees.

She thinks outdoor sports played with precaution and protocols are healthy for children.

“We all know the risk of COVID in those situations is so low, so I was really disappointed that the children’s sports weren’t opening sooner than where they are on the list,” Dr. Harpstrite said.

She thinks that sports provide both physical and mental health for children, which is needed during COVID-19.

“How much this is affecting so many children’s mental health that they’re thinking that the world is a terribly scary place,” Dr. Harpstrite said. “Everybody has to stay inside all the time. If we can make them understand. Nope, you can go play soccer as long as you follow these rules with your friends, then that’s going to give people both a mental and a physical better sense of well being. To me, I don’t feel like you can just dismiss that oh it’s children’s sports, and it’s nothing important. I feel like it’s very important.”

Youth football coach Mark Veneri has been researching what has allowed many other states across the nation to play. His takeaway is government leaders teaming up with league officials to work out a plan.

“I think one of the things that really stands out to me is how government officials and state officials and everybody from the youth, organizations, and it varies from state to state, but you look at it from that standpoint,” Veneri said. “There’s a lot of collaboration. I think if we can collaborate as a whole. I think there’s ways in which we could open sports up again.”

With groups limited to five, youth baseball instructor Justin Frash thinks there are many ways for kids to stay involved currently, and while it’s far from perfect, kids can practice by themselves.

“It doesn’t have to be an hour,” Frash said. “You might go in the house today and look in the mirror. You don’t have to physically do something you can go on the internet and watch games and pick up mental things.”

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