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Wake County Travel Restrictions

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Ryan Kemper, Staff Writer

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Headlines flashed across my phone over the week of January 15th. Snow was heading into Wake County and school started getting canceled starting on Wednesday and continuing all the way through a cancellation of the year-round school make-up day on Saturday the 20th. Most of Green Hope’s population looked forward to a few days off to enjoy the most snow that the area has received in a while, however, there were certainly several groups that were less than happy with some of the decisions made surrounding the multiple school cancellations. The most notable groups included the Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track and Field Teams who lost out on a major opportunity because of Wake County’s travel restrictions.  

Unlike many other Winter Sports programs, it is nearly impossible to reschedule major Track and Field meets, which makes things very difficult for athletes looking for State Championship qualifying times. Most of the Winter Sports season has been consumed with preparation for the Track Teams’ marquee race of the season, the Virginia Showcase.  Hosted at a state-of-the-art facility at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, anticipations rode high amongst team members who were scheduled to compete over the two day meet from January 19th to the 20th.  

Despite many Wake County schools being allowed to travel up to the meet on Friday and arrive at the destination safely, the make-up day cancellation on Saturday, January 20th caused all of those who had traveled up to the meet the day prior to have to return to North Carolina, causing a waste of time, hotel space, team budget funds, and was an overall unnecessary use of Wake County’s travel restrictions.  

By not allowing many of Wake County’s premier track teams, such as Southeast Raleigh High School, Garner Magnet High School and Green Hope High School to participate, the county missed out on an exciting opportunity to have its schools receive major accolades at one of the premier track meets in the country. This restriction also prevented top athletes in the county to receive State Championship qualifying times. Senior Distance Runner Sean Petersen commented, “I was disappointed in the fact that we would be allowed to make the trip to Virginia but ended up not being allowed to race.  I felt it should’ve been guaranteed that everyone would be allowed to race if we were allowed to travel because it ended up being a waste of many people’s time.” The meet ended up producing three National Records and loads of fast times for distance runners and sprinters alike, which was disheartening to see for all of those that were not able to compete.

I am by no means denying the importance of keeping students in the county safe, and with road conditions in many places in the area less than desirable, Wake County’s decision to cancel school on Saturday the 20th is completely understandable.  It was an easy fix; school makeup days are built into the calendar and local sporting events are able to be rescheduled later on in the season with not too much difficulty.  However, it seems completely unfair that a couple of teams lost out on opportunities to showcase all of their talent and hard work that they have put in while others are allowed to simply take a rain check on the game three weeks later.  By treating some of these scenarios on a more case by case basis, it could eliminate this double standard in a way.  Wake County wants the best for all of its students, including safety for those at home, but that should not prevent those from showcasing their talents on the big stage.

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Wake County Travel Restrictions