Like other large school districts in St. Louis County, Mehlville and Oakville high schools will play a fall football season outside St. Louis County, due to continuing COVID-19 restrictions banning games in high-contact sports like football.
The Mehlville School District announced the decision Friday through emails sent home to parents by Oakville Principal Tamara Sunkett and Mehlville Principal Jason Landherr.
“A few high schools in the county have announced they will play outside the county. Mehlville School District high schools will do so as well,” Landherr and Sunkett wrote to parents.
The move follows the decisions of Lindbergh, Rockwood and Parkway to play football games in Jefferson County. But Mehlville did not specifically say that its games will be held in Jefferson County, which has no restrictions on youth sports or crowd sizes.
The first football games for the schools will take place Friday, Oct. 9. That game will be an interdistrict rivalry showdown between Oakville and Mehlville, but the district has not yet established where the Tigers and Panthers will play. The fall football season was originally slated to start in late August.
In order to compete, Oakville and Mehlville student athletes and their parents will be required to sign waivers promising not to sue the district if the child contracts COVID-19.
The county continues to ban games in high-contact sports due to high positivity rates and other COVID-19 indicators for ages 15-19, County Executive Sam Page said Wednesday even as he lifted a ban on games and competitions for moderate-contact sports like soccer.
In the waiver Mehlville athletes will have to sign, the district notes that the virus that has caused a global pandemic is “extremely contagious” and “Mehlville School District cannot completely mitigate the risk of transfer of communicable diseases like COVID-19,” including exposure, illness, injury or death from the disease. The person who signs the waiver agrees not to hold the district liable even if illness comes from any negligence or intentional actions by the district.
By signing the waiver, parents also agree that they will not allow the student to compete if they are showing any symptoms of COVID-19.