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Student-athletes enrolled in online school could get more play time

Ryan Rutland
Posted at 5:47 PM, Sep 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-21 21:51:12-04

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — Virtual learning could be a benefit for some student-athletes who want to avoid missing games because they were exposed to COVID-19 in the classroom.

Some parents in Williamson County are letting their student-athletes learn online to ensure they get enough time on the field and aren't quarantined for two weeks due to exposure. It's something that Brent Rutland didn't think about at first, but it's worked out well for his sons Ryan and Jordan who play football at Paige High School.

"We had to make our decision back in July, and we knew that our decision would last for the entire semester," Rutland said, "It wasn’t until football kicked back off that my two boys were able to kind of start getting back into the groove to normal."

It's possible that student-athletes who went back in-person might have a higher risk of getting sick.

"So we know that the district collaboration with the health department is doing contact tracing, and through contact tracing is contacting the school district, and at that point, if someone’s been in contact with the person who has come down with the disease, with the virus, then those children have to isolate," Rutland said.

And that means missing practices as well as games.

"Now one of the other district schools, Fairview, they have where they shut down their football program because of exposure, we haven’t seen that at Paige yet," Rutland said, “I think kids need routines. They need structure, and the lack of structure without football would have been really hard on my boys."

While the WCS Online program worked well for Rutland's high school students, it did not work out for his middle school daughter, Whitney. He petitioned the district to get her back to in-person learning, and they made an exception to help their family.