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Montana view: Big Sky Conference did the right thing

Montana view: Big Sky Conference did the right thing

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The Big Sky Conference made a wrenching decision last week.

With the clock running out, in a very tough situation, it took a time out.

Great call.

The decision not to play football this fall is unprecedented and will not be popular with many. We believe it is courageous and correct.

Officially, the BSC moved its conference games to the spring. Non-conference games had already been canceled. The decision effectively means the FCS playoffs will not occur this year because fewer than 50 percent of the schools eligible are still scheduled to play football.

There is much that is dispiriting about the decision. It's just not fall in America without football. But the health and safety of students is by far the most important factor, and schools have already had multiple football players test positive.

The decision brings others into the spotlight. What about high school games? What about college classes? Primary and secondary school classes?

For months we have seen plans, and retreat, and modified plans, and more retreat, in many areas of our society as COVID has persisted and accelerated. We will doubtless continue to do so. But of all places where we have to get it right, our classrooms are paramount.

We understand the importance of in-person education. We understand the stresses and strains students and their families suffer with school closure. We understand the economic impacts.

But we also understand the heightened risk to our students — and to their friends and family members — at every level from kindergarten to graduate school.

We would urge every educational organization, from school districts to universities, to use the same overriding factor in their decision-making that was used by the Big Sky Conference — regard for the health and safety of students above all else.

More than 160,000 U.S. deaths later, the debate is long over. This virus is not a hoax or a political stratagem. It is simply a killer. Until there is a vaccine, we must continue to make sacrifices for the public health, and there is no part of that more important than the health of our children.

Billings Gazette

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