Press Club

(Updated at 5:15 p.m.) The loud pop sound produced by a pickleball hitting a paddle has led to the closing of a popular court at Glebe Road Park.

A new pilot program that began last month at the North Arlington park is temporarily closing a stand-alone outdoor pickleball court through the majority of the spring and summer.

As a replacement, the tennis court next to it is now striped to create two additional pickleball courts. With the change, there are now two lighted multi-purpose tennis/pickleball courts and one lighted tennis court at Glebe Road Park. The park’s hours also have been adjusted, with the lights now shutting off at 10 p.m. instead of 11 p.m.

The reason for these changes is that the pop of pickleball — an increasingly popular sport — is bothersome some nearby neighbors in the Old Glebe community.

“One of the issues with pickleball is complaints of the popping noise the paddle makes when it hits the ball,” Martha Holland, a spokesperson for the Arlington Department of Parks and Recreation, tells ARLnow. “These concerns are not unique to Arlington but are prevalent in many communities nationwide. Many jurisdictions are grappling with finding the balance [given] the growth in pickleball.”

“These concerns were present before the COVID-19 pandemic,” Holland added. “However, the increase in play on the dedicated pickleball court at Glebe Road Park during COVID-19 has exacerbated the situation.”

The pilot program is set to run until September 6 and, at that point, the county will determine next steps.

“We will be checking in with the community (neighbors and court users) a couple times during the pilot to get feedback,” Holland wrote. “We hope to mitigate the sound issues by moving pickleball to the tennis courts.”

It’s no secret that pickleball’s popularity has surged over the last two years, due in part to it being a relatively low-impact social sport that allows players to stay within a relatively safe distance from one another.

This has, in turn led Arlington County to increase the number of courts available for pickleball.

But it also has caused some challenges. For one, there’s a limited number of available court space in the county. Back in November, county officials expressed some frustration that pickleball players were going rogue and unilaterally marking off pickleball boundaries on existing tennis and basketball courts.

At Glebe Road Park, the re-striping of a tennis court for pickleball hasn’t sat well with everyone vying for a share of that prime concrete real estate.

Helen White, part of the Arlington Pickleball Club‘s leadership team, says she’s heard from members that they’ve been “bullied” by tennis players when using the courts.

There is a county-run reservation system, allowing residents to book one of the tennis courts in 60 or 90 minute increments at $10 an hour. However, with many spots open, it’s unclear how much the system is actually utilized.

Then, there’s the noise of ball meeting paddle.

It was a single household that first brought a noise concerns to the county’s attention in August 2020, Arlington’s Director of Constituent Services Ben Aiken confirms to ARLnow. As time went on, though, more households complained to the county about the popping noise, Aiken says.

There was even talk of a petition, supposedly signed by about 20 households all living near the park on N. Old Glebe Road, though Aiken tells ARLnow that he has yet to receive a formal petition and is not aware of one circulating in the community.

ARLnow attempted to reach out to the homeowner who initially complained to the county, but they declined to speak for this story.

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Up the hill from John F. Kennedy’s grave and behind Arlington House on the western side of Arlington National Cemetery lies the purported inventor of America’s pastime.

The former Union Army General Abner Doubleday is interred in section 1, laid to permanent rest there nearly 130 years ago. He’s one of more than a hundred Union generals that are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. While it’s his accomplishments during the Civil War that led him here, history remembers Doubleday much more for his perceived contributions to the game of baseball.

“I’m a big baseball fan. When I was growing up in the 1960s, the common view among the public was that this guy named Doubleday invented it,” says George Dodge, former Arlington Historical Society president and author of a book about the history of Arlington National Cemetery. “But that’s largely been completely discredited.”

Doubleday, a New York native, had a lifetime full of military experience. He was an officer in the Mexican War, fought in the Seminole War, and actually commended the gunners that fired the Civil War’s first shots at Fort Sumter. During the Civil War, he also saw action at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Bull Run, and Gettysburg.

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It was at Gettysburg where Doubleday was given command of the corps, when another general was killed in action, that helped to secure high ground. This ultimately led to the Union’s victory at the famed battle and likely turned the tide of the war.

“He has to be given some credit for that and I don’t think he does,” says Dodge.

After the war, he worked to help formerly enslaved people transition to a life of freedom, secure patents for San Francisco’s cable car system, and led a religious group devoted to spiritualism. Doubleday died in 1893 in New Jersey.

But before all of that, he apparently — according to legend — invented baseball.

The story goes that, while living in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839, a 20-year-old Doubleday drew a diamond in the dust and declared this was for a new game he called “base ball.” Along with a 1871 request for baseball-like equipment, this was enough proof for some that Doubleday invented baseball.

And, for the better part of the 20th century, this narrative existed — and, to some extent, still to this day.

Over the last several decades, however, historians have proven that Doubleday likely didn’t invent baseball.

The tale of him drawing a diamond in the dust was only first recounted via letter in 1905, more than 60 years after the fact, to the Mills Commission, a group that had been tasked to determine the origins of the great American game of baseball.

The letter was written by a man named Abner Graves who claimed he was there that day, but Graves would have only been 5 years old at the time. Additionally, it was unlikely that Doubleday was even in Cooperstown at the time. He was a cadet at West Point in 1839 and, even if he had returned home to see family, his family had moved to another village.

“They were looking for even the flimsiest of proof that [baseball] originated here in the United States,” says Dodge.

The more likely reason that this myth exists is that Doubleday represented a home run candidate — a respected Union Army general buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

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Capitals practice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex (via Monumental Sports and Entertainment)

Oakridge Elementary will get to cheer on the Washington Capitals heading into the playoffs.

More than 280 third through fifth grade students will participate in a pep rally at the Arlington Ridge school tomorrow (Friday), just days before teams begin facing off for the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The event, dubbed “Soar to the Playoffs,” is being organized by the Caps and sponsored by Boeing, which has its D.C. headquarters in nearby Crystal City. The event will run from noon to 1 p.m. and feature street hockey, as well as an appearance from Caps mascot Slapshot.

As the season winds down and playoff matchups are firming up, there’s news swirling around Alexander Ovechkin’s injury and ability to start in the playoffs. He sat out of Tuesday’s game against the New York Islanders. The team is set to play the Islanders again tonight at 7 p.m. on Long Island.

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Morning Notes

A Washington City Paper box sits by itself near a crosswalk in Ballston, after the announcement that the paper would be ending its print edition (staff photo)

Concern Growing for Missing Man — “Arlington County, Va., police are seeking help from the public in locating gay Pentagon City resident Shaun M. Spaulding, 39, who police say was last seen on the afternoon of March 15, 2022, at his residence by his roommate. Princess Melissa, Spaulding’s cousin, reached out to the LGBTQ community in a Facebook message last week urging anyone who may have seen Spaulding to contact the police.” [Washington Blade]

Arlingtonian on Jeopardy! Tonight — Tonight’s episode of the long-running TV quiz show is set to feature Kathleen Snyder, a government contractor from Arlington. [Jeopardy!]

Overturned Vehicle Last Night — From Dave Statter: “One car overturned at the intersection of S. Carlin Springs Road & Ardley Court. Person out of the car. #Police, fire & #EMS on scene.” [Twitter]

Misbehavior at Local Middle School — “Parents in Arlington are concerned after students were caught bringing weapons to a middle school and being inappropriate in the restrooms. They’ve been contacting FOX 5 about a number of incidents that have taken place at Swanson Middle School.” [Fox 5]

APS Homework Debate Rages — “Rarely have I received reaction to a column as vigorous — and as negative — as the flood of emails from teachers appalled by my opposition to a plan in Arlington, Va., to strike down traditional homework and grading systems.” [Washington Post]

New Coach for New Marymount Sport — “Roy Hill has been hired to be the head coach and start the men’s wrestling program at Marymount University. The first season for the Division III Saints will be the 2022-23 winter season… ‘Northern Virginia deserves to have a top-notch Division III option for the large number of quality wrestlers who want to get a quality education while being in the business hub of the nation,’ Hill said.” [Sun Gazette]

Video: Coyote Terrorizes Fox Family — From a reader: “A coyote came to my Arlington backyard to try to feast on my fox family who live under my shed. There’s a mama and a papa and four kits. The foxes did their best to lure him away for now. This happened Friday night. We hope he doesn’t come back.” [YouTube]

It’s Tuesday — Rain throughout the day. High of 62 and low of 48. Sunrise at 6:48 am and sunset at 7:37 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

A kite stuck up a tree in Rosslyn (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Another Malfunctioning Walk Signal — Just over a week after this, another reported crosswalk signal issue: “Instead of telling you when it’s safe to cross the street, the walk signs in Crystal City, VA are just repeating ‘CHANGE PASSWORD’. Something’s gone terribly wrong here.” [Twitter]

School Board Meeting Was Mostly Maskless — “For those playing the ‘how many Arlington School Board members will go mask-free at the first board meeting after requirements were lifted?’ home game, the winners were those who had put their money on four out of five. Board members David Priddy, Cristina Diaz-Torres, Reid Goldstein and chairman Barbara Kanninen were maskless at the March 10 meeting, as was Superintendent Francisco Durán. School Board member Mary Kadera kept her mask affixed.” [Sun Gazette]

Survey Work on GW Parkway — ” A $161 million ‘complete rehabilitation‘ of the northern section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway is being planned… Through Friday, March 18, there will be single-lane closures along the northern section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway for bridge surveys. Drivers should proceed with caution in these areas and consider using alternate routes, according to an NPS alert.” [WUSA 9]

Arlington Doc Helping Refugees — “An Arlington doctor is not only battling the pandemic in Northern Virginia, but he also travels across international borders to help those in need. The current refugee crisis that began with Afghans in 2021, now includes Ukrainians facing a similar fate of displacement and an uncertain future. For three years before COVID-19 spread across the globe, Dr. Ali Karim helped build wells in Nigeria, aided orphans and women in Kabul, Afghanistan and filmed a documentary about his solo journey.” [WJLA]

Days Inn Redevelopment Update — “The plans to replace the Days Inn at 2201 Arlington Boulevard with 262 multi-family units and around 3,000 square feet of retail were filed with Arlington County last week. The eight-story project will also have surface and underground parking. STUDIOS Architecture designed the building.” [Urban Turf]

Social Sports Return to Crystal City — “Sand Volleyball is BACK in National Landing starting this May with a few fun new additions – Bocce and Corn Hole!” [Twitter]

Yes, It’s Getting Windier — “Our analysis of wind data shows that the strongest gusts have become more frequent recently. Last year featured more big wind gusts than any recent year, a trend that has continued into this year. Wind advisories, issued by the National Weather Service when gusts are expected to top 45 mph, have also been on the increase since the mid-2000s.” [Capital Weather Gang]

It’s Tuesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 66 and low of 40. Sunrise at 7:21 am and sunset at 7:17 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

A military helicopter flies along the Potomac River and National Mall, as viewed from near the Netherlands Carillon (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Wet, Windy, Snowy Saturday on Tap — “A powerful storm system will cross the region Saturday. We are likely to see winds gusting over 50 mph Saturday, along with very low wind chills by Saturday night. We remain uncertain about snowfall, as the cold air will be chasing the precip — a wide range remains possible.” [Twitter, Capital Weather Gang]

Firefighters Union Wins Vote — “For the first time in more than FOUR DECADES — a public sector union will have the right to negotiate a contract with Arlington County. And it wasn’t just a win — it was a BLOWOUT.” [Facebook, Twitter]

PSA: Don’t Leave Keys Inside a Parked Car — An auto theft near Upton Hill park: “At approximately 12:40 a.m., a witness observed three unknown suspects rummaging through a vehicle. The witness yelled and the suspects fled the scene on foot. The suspects then entered into the victim’s car, located the keys inside and drove away from the area. The vehicle is described as gray in color, 2015 Honda CRV bearing VA license plate VKX2844.” [ACPD]

Marymount Adding Wrestling Teams — “Marymount University is moving forward on plans to add both Men’s and  Women’s Wrestling as varsity sports, expanding the institution’s athletic offerings to 22 different varsity-level teams. Men’s competition will begin in the 2022-23 academic year, as Marymount currently searches for a head coach who will begin recruiting for the program immediately. Women’s competition will debut during the 2023-24 academic year.” [Marymount University]

How Arlington Landed HQ2 — “If you’re interested in how Amazon could reshape our region, it’s worth understanding what our region had to build to land them. It’s an underdog story that starts with a small team of local business-improvement officials who had neither the clout nor the cash of most of their competitors. Instead, they figured out what Amazon was really looking for and quietly began the process of shaping a city to fit those needs.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

An Irish Tale on a Local Stage — “Tis the time of the year that everyone wants to be Irish, if only for a wee while, and Encore Stage & Studio has joined the celebration of all things Eire with the world-premiere production of ‘Riley O’Brien and the Lost Leprechaun.’ While aimed at the younger set, the show is inventive in its conception and solid in its execution, making it a treat for all ages.” [Sun Gazette]

Fairfax County Local News — ARLnow’s latest sister site, FFXnow, is providing up-to-the-minute coverage of Fairfax County following its recent official launch. Sign up for the email newsletter or follow on Facebook or Twitter. [FFXnow]

It’s Friday — Sunny most of the day, then rain overnight. High of 59 and low of 37. Sunrise at 6:27 am and sunset at 6:13 pm. [Weather.gov]

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The Washington Capitals are hosting a women’s hockey tournament and a series of clinics at the Capitals’ practice facility in Ballston next month.

The four game showcase from the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA), part of the association’s “Dream Gap Tour,” will take place from March 4-6 at the Medstar Capital Iceplex on N. Glebe Road. It will feature teams from Minnesota, Boston, Calgary, and Toronto. This is the sixth stop for the tour, but the first time in the D.C. area.

The intention of the tournament is to bring attention to the “dream gap” that exists for young girls who want to play hockey.

“Essentially, a boy can lace up his skates and dream of playing in the NHL one day whereas young girls don’t have a league that pays a livable wage where they can solely focus on hockey to dream about,” a PWHPA spokesperson tells ARLnow about why this is an important program. “There’s a dream gap that exists that we’d like to close for girls.”

This is also part of the Capitals’ ALL CAPS ALL HER initiative with the aim of providing access and support for female hockey players across the region. There are 5,332 registered youth hockey players in Virginia, according to statistics provided by the Capitals, with only about 12% of those players being female.

“The Capitals are committed to continuing to grow the game at all levels, which includes youth and female hockey. The D.C. region has seen phenomenal interest and growth in hockey participation over the last decade-plus, and we’re proud to play a part in that development through initiatives like the PWHPA’s Dream Gap Tour,” Peter Robinson, the Caps’ director of youth hockey development, wrote in a statement.

Tickets for the Saturday and Sunday game are as low as $15. The game will be streamed on the official Capitals Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as on the Monumental Sports Network.

Hockey clinics will also be held at the Iceplex in Ballston for both youth and adult female players on March 3-5. The clinics will include work on and off the ice and will feature PWHPA athletes, coaches, and Caps youth hockey development staff. Participants will receive a complimentary weekend pass to the games.

The PWHPA features approximately 125 of the world’s best female hockey players and was specifically formed to create a women’s hockey league that pays a living wage to players while provideing elite-level resources like trainers, marketing, and facilities.

“We wanted to partner with the Capitals because of their involvement in the community & girls’ hockey,” a PWHPA spokesperson said. “Particularly, the launch [of] their ALL CAPS ALL HER initiative. It’s important for us to partner with organizations who want to grow the women’s game, which the Capitals definitely do.”

The 137,000-square-foot Medstar Capital Iceplex, which got a new name in 2018, opened 15 years ago. In addition to offering a venue for public skates and local hockey clubs, it serves as the Capitals’ practice facility and team headquarters.

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With a flurry of touchdowns, an Arlington girls flag football team won the NFL Flag Football National Championship in Las Vegas this past weekend.

The Virginia Hurricanes, a team made up of sixth grade girls mostly from Arlington, dominated the competition in their age range during the six game tournament. The team routed their opponents during the tournament by a combined score of 96 to 8.

The team has been playing together for about three years. That continuity and cohesion is what makes this group special, the players tell ARLnow.

“We have all the right pieces. So, when it all fits together and is working, it feels like we could beat anyone,” quarterback Zoe Connor says.

Receiver Adriana Ordenes agrees, saying it’s the sometimes unquantifiable traits that can turn a good team into a great one.

“It’s a team sport. There’s not just one player that does everything,” Ordenes says. “Everybody is working together.”

Coached by Mike Rivera, this isn’t the first time the Virginia Hurricanes has won or participated in the national championship. In fact, two other girls teams he oversees — including the Virginia Girls 14U and the 12U squads — made it to this year’s tournament as well in Vegas, also playing extremely well.  Additionally, he runs a program for girls basketball teams.

But Rivera says the sixth grade Hurricanes were particularly successful due to that togetherness.

“They just have a lot of good team chemistry,” he says. “They’re great kids who get along well and are so supportive of one another. They are very unselfish.”

The tournament is sponsored by the NFL, with each team representing an NFL franchise. The Virginia Hurricanes won the regional tournament in New Jersey in June, so they went to Las Vegas representing the New York Jets. The NFL team provided apparel, jerseys, and brand new cleats to the players.

Like any great team, they did overcome some challenges along the way. Lyla Kelly, who plays cornerback on defense and center on offense, has cystic fibrosis, which landed her in the hospital at times during the season. But she says that her teammates always picked her up by checking on her and not missing a beat when she couldn’t be on the field with them.

“It’s so welcoming and everyone always supports me with everything,” Kelly says. “There’s not one person who treats me any differently.”

Her teammates agree.

“Lyla is such a great athlete and teammate. Nobody really notices [that she has cystic fibrosis] all that much,” Connor says. “On our team, she’s just a really good player. And a really good friend.”

The teammates talk about how Coach Mike Rivera, who lives in the Woodmont neighborhood, makes the sport fun for them, but also knows that he’s focused on the same thing they are: winning.

“Coach Mike… makes it so much fun, but the [coaches] don’t make too much fun so that we all goof around. We get serious,”  says Ordenes. “And I love winning.”

When the final whistle was blown and the Virginia Hurricanes knew the championship was theirs, they celebrated by “screaming and jumping around” and drenching their coaches with water blasters (the tournament was also sponsored by Nerf).

But Kelly, Connor, and Ordenes all say that their work isn’t done yet. Sure, winning one championship is nice, but they hope that bond they have will help them win again next time.

“We just get each other,” Ordenes says. “We’ve been playing with each other for so long that we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We all help each other out on the field.”

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Arlington County school bus (Photo courtesy Chris Rief)

(Updated at noon) Arlington Public Schools is bringing athletics back early and reducing quarantine periods, despite more than a thousand Covid cases reported among students and staff this past week.

Starting next week, the school system will adopt revised CDC guidance, Superintendent Francisco Durán wrote in an email to the school community Wednesday. The isolation period for staff members who test positive will be halved to five days. The new guidelines also reduced the quarantine period to five days for a student or staff member who is considered a close contact to someone who tested positive.

“Students who are exempt from quarantine (e.g., those with up-to-date vaccinations, are asymptomatic and are able to wear a mask) will be excluded and verified by Contact Tracers before being able to return to school,” Durán noted.

APS will still require a 10-day isolation period for students who test positive for COVID-19, despite the CDC’s recent change to guidelines allowing a five-day isolation for positive cases under certain conditions. That’s because APS is unable to ensure that “consistent physical distancing and mask protocols [are] in place at all times, including during meals.”

“Maintaining safe, consistent in-person learning is our priority,” Durán wrote. “APS will maintain in-person learning except in limited instances to address high transmission in a classroom or school. Switching any class or school to virtual learning–even for a short period of time–will be a last resort.”

There are 864 students and 183 employees who have tested positive for Covid over the past week, according to the APS Covid dashboard as of publication time. That compares to 56 positive student cases over a seven-day period just over a month ago, in early December.

Arlington is currently seeing its highest Covid hospitalization rate since January 2021. Nine people were hospitalized on Wednesday alone, according to Virginia Dept. of Health data. The seven-day moving average of daily hospitalizations is now just above four.

As teachers and community members expressed concerns about the surge in Covid cases over winter break, driven by the new Omicron variant, Durán committed to return in person. Last week’s snowstorms ended up cancelling school for the entire week, but students returned to classrooms on Monday.

While some in the community have urged more caution amid the Covid wave, others have advocated for schools and activities to remain open.

In a statement Monday, prior to Wednesday’s announcement, the pro-school-reopening group Arlington Parents for Education said that “APS should follow the CDC-recommended five days for isolations and quarantines instead of ten in order to significantly increase APS’ ability to staff schools and to reduce students’ days out of school.”

Arlington Parents for Education and more than 1,500 petition signers have also called for APS to resume athletic activities, which were “paused” for two weeks to start the new year, a move not mirrored by other local school systems.

In his email, Durán said that in-person athletics and extracurriculars returned early, on Wednesday, “following our current testing, vaccination and mask requirements.”

Only family members can watch events, Durán wrote in his email. Other limitations for spectators could apply based on facility.

The full message from Superintendent Durán is below.

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Morning Notes

Athletics Ban Not Consistent with County — “Arlington’s newest School Board member opened her tenure by intimating that, if the county school system’s ban on athletics and extracurricular activities is extended past its current Jan. 14 deadline or resurrected later, the county government should follow suit and shut down park programs for adults.” [Sun Gazette]

Universal Basic Income in Arlington? — “Every Arlingtonian, rich and poor alike, could be given $550 a month, leaving few families below the poverty line, if the property tax rate were tripled. The net income of a family of four living in a house worth less than $1.36 million would be higher, as this UBI dividend would exceed the increase in tax.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Yorktown Hockey is Undefeated — “In high-school club ice hockey action in recent days, the undefeated Yorktown Patriots (7-0) won two matches. Yorktown nipped Georgetown Prep, 2-1, then blanked the Langley Saxons, 5-0, in league play.” [Sun Gazette]

Local Dry January Deal — Ballston’s recently opened taqueria El Rey is offering up $1 zero-proof cocktails with meals, for those participating in Dry January. [Twitter]

Falls Church Jewelry Store Robbed — Falls Church Police are searching for two men who stole $200,000 to $300,000 worth of jewelry in an armed robbery of a jewelry store on W. Broad Street on Friday afternoon. [City of Falls Church]

Questionable Covid Testing Location in F.C. — “A COVID-19 testing company with a location in Falls Church is the subject of numerous complaints from across the U.S. about its practices.” [Tysons Reporter, USA Today]

Camera Discovered in Laundromat Restroom — A teen girl discovered a camera in the restroom of Surf ‘N’ Suds in Bailey’s Crossroads and Fairfax County Police need help identifying a man who was seen leaving an adjacent restroom at the time of the incident. [Fairfax County Police]

It’s Wednesday — Today will be sunny, with a high near 44. South wind 6 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Sunrise at 7:26 a.m. and sunset at 5:07 p.m. Tomorrow will be partly sunny, with a high near 46. [Weather.gov]

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A sign in support of Arlington athletes playing amid Omicron concerns outside Arlington Public School headquarter (courtesy photo)

(Updated 2:35 p.m.) Some parents and students are pushing Arlington Public Schools to reverse its decision to temporarily halt sports and other extracurricular activities due to COVID-19.

After the snow clears, the majority of APS students will return to their classrooms for in-person learning, but their sports practices and games, band and choir classes and club meetings will be “paused” until Friday, Jan. 14.

APS announced its decision to cancel two weeks of extracurricular activities and prioritize in-person learning in response to the surge in new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. Some families are speaking out about the impact this will have on students and are pressuring APS to reinstate extracurriculars, coaches are privately dismayed, and more than 1,500 people have signed a petition to resume sports and activities.

“We aren’t going to be able to practice for the upcoming meets, which means our risk of injury is pretty high — especially for gymnasts who are doing skills that require intense training and repetition on specialized equipment,” says Grace Chen, a senior varsity gymnast. “As a senior, it is especially disappointing because now the rest of the season could be a disaster. We are hoping to compete at States again for the fourth consecutive year.”

There was a similar outcry in November 2020, when APS decided not to participate in winter sports while most students were virtual. Within four days it reversed course, following the groundswell of support for sports and conversations with neighboring school systems.

Back then, parent Mark Weiser had a dozen “Let them play!” signs made. He almost threw them away last summer but decided to keep them. Now, they’re back up in yards around town.

“I didn’t want to have to use them,” he said.

Weiser says the decision is extreme. APS requires that student athletes be vaccinated or submit to daily Covid testing, and he says his son’s fully vaccinated team is also undergoing daily testing. Fairfax County Public Schools, which also requires vaccinations or negative tests, has not paused sports, he adds.

“For Arlington to go out on an island and do this by themselves is beyond frustrating,” he said. “We have no indication these games will be made up.”

Others say the risk for transmission will remain even with this decision, as kids will continue playing for club teams and find ways to play or practice together outside of school.

Weiser said parents couldn’t get more answers for four days after the news due to the holiday weekend and storm.

“There was no one to talk to,” he said on Monday. “Offices were closed Thursday through Sunday, and there’s snow today.”

He says some families intend to speak at the School Board meeting this Thursday, during which the newly-elected Mary Kadera will be sworn in.

The new guidance needs explaining, says the County Council of PTAs. President Claire Noakes says parents want more details on how the decision was made and how it will be implemented for non-athletic activities.

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