Eagle Grove having 2nd thoughts on baseball, softball seasons

Special school board meeting set for today to discuss potential cancellation

EAGLE GROVE — Like all school districts in Iowa, Eagle Grove has been keeping a close eye on the area COVID-19 count as the high school baseball and softball season approaches.

Recent concern over the growing number of positive cases in Wright County elicited a response from EGCSD officials on Monday, as all scheduled Eagle practices were officially suspended. According to the district’s website, a special school board meeting will be held at noon on Tuesday, and the possible cancellation of the 2020 summer sports campaign is on the agenda.

“At this point, superintendent (Jess Toliver) and I have come to the agreement that Monday’s practices will be postponed pending an emergency board meeting scheduled for (Tuesday) at noon,” Eagle Grove High School activities director Richard Thacker confirmed. “At the meeting, they will consider participating in the 2020 softball and baseball season.

“As early as our parent meeting held (Sunday) night at 7 p.m. our plan was to play … however, with the increasing cases developing within EGCSD staff and students, the ever-growing volume of directly-exposed individuals, and a rising positive count total in Wright County, we feel like the situation has escalated beyond the administration’s decision.”

As of Monday afternoon, Wright County had 178 positive COVID-19 cases according to the state of Iowa’s coronavirus website. A total of 1,367 tests have been verified, for an individual positive rate of 13 percent.

Of the 178 cases in Wright, 43 percent are between the ages of 18-40, and 78 percent are in the 18-60 age range.

Eagle Grove baseball coach Jordan Miller — a 2004 Fort Dodge Senior High graduate and former Dodger all-stater — appreciates the difficult decision the district is trying to make.

“Of course, everyone’s goal is to play,” Miller said. “But it’s a lot more complicated than that. There is a bigger picture we have to take into consideration, no matter how much we love the game and want the kids to play — especially the seniors. I commend the district and the school board for their constant evaluation of the data. The situation is certainly fluid in these uncertain times.

“It’s up to us to be adults and do what’s best for everyone involved. We are ultimately responsible for the health and safety of our student-athletes.”

The Eagle Grove Parks and Recreation Department announced on Monday that the youth baseball and softball seasons have been canceled.

To date, Belmond-Klemme — which also has students from Wright County, as well as neighboring Hancock and Franklin Counties — is the only district in Iowa to vote against having a baseball and softball season. The B-K school board made the decision on May 21 — one day after both testing and positive counts first spiked in Wright.

Iowa is attempting to become the first state in the country to have a high school sports season during the global pandemic. Practices officially started on Monday, with games scheduled to begin on June 15.

According to the district’s website, Jon Rowen is currently the EGCSD board president and Tracy Crail is vice presdient. Elaine Schope, Darren Robinson and Aaron Parrott are the other board members.

Tuesday’s EGCSD school board meeting will be held at the Emerson Building, 325 North Commercial, in Eagle Grove.


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