ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV.com) -- A small group of parents stood outside St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page's office Monday morning, demanding he answer questions related to restrictions on youth sports and schooling.
Youth sports are limited to practices and scrimmages within St. Louis County, as Page has previously said the positivity rate among teens in the county was near 20 percent. While that figure is decreasing, restrictions on youth sports have not changed.
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No competitive play is allowed in medium or high contact sports, which has caused some school districts to consider playing sports outside of the county this fall.
“He refuses to answer our questions when it comes to the data on COVID," said Elizabeth Schweppe, who has a 14-year-old son who plays hockey. "He throws out blanket numbers but we can do math too, we learned real math, not common core. We know how to crunch numbers also. The numbers are not adding up."
St. Louis County health officials say a number of student athletes were infected with COVID-19 after taking part in sports activities.
Schweppe, along with other parents, said they submitted comments to last week's county council meeting. There were a total of 344 public comments submitted, but the county council voted to only read two hours worth, or about 40.
"That’s 85 percent of comments from our community not being heard," she said. "He didn’t even attend the meeting.”
The group said it would also like to see students in the county return to in-person learning, arguing they do not believe the data Page cites supports the restrictions he has put in place.
"Thirty percent of our county population is African-American or minority," Schweppe said. "How do you square up Affirmative Action when you’re not allowing these kids to attend school or attend sports. What is the truancy rate? These children cannot be sitting in front of a computer all day, you can’t sell me that."
Page said the county's guidelines as it relates to sports and schools are designed to keep students safe. He said he can appreciate the frustration that comes along with it, but said the county has the children's best interest in mind.
"Everyone is going to be making sacrifices, all across the board from all walks of life," Page said. "We will get through this together, I'm very confident of that."
Page said he hopes schools who decide to play sports outside of St. Louis County this fall abide by the county's guidelines related to social distancing and masks.
The debate over opening schools and allowing youth sports is heading to the St. Louis County Council Tuesday.
"This is a very difficult time for all of us not just with schools and sports," he said.
St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page is defending COVID- 19 restrictions that don't allow student-athletes of moderate or high impact sports to play competitively.
Parents outside Page's office said they would be willing to sign a COVID-19 liability waiver if it meant their children could participate in competitive play.
“My son has more of a chance of getting a CTE concussion than he does from catching COVID by checking somebody into the boards," said Schweppe. "That’s a fact.”
At the end of the day, the group was unable to speak to Page face-to-face, but it said that won't stop their efforts moving forward.
“He believes because a Democrat has always won this election, that he’s a shoe in," Schweppe said. "That when he won the primary, he’s in his seat. He’s not. We’ll make sure of it.”