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Michigan parents and student-athletes following protocol to keep playing while cases rise

Michigan Gov. Whitmer suggested, not mandated, a two-week pause in sports as cases in the state climb. In Bedford, baseball continues with precautions and protocols.

BEDFORD, Mich. — With those climbing COVID-19 cases, athletes and parents in Michigan are reminded of last year's cancelled spring sports.

So far, they've been getting a chance to compete in 2021.

Mary Jane Pridgeon is a mom and a teacher, so she's seen how the past year's push and pull from in-person to virtual learning has impacted students at home and in the classroom.

She also says she can see how cancelling sports like baseball can impact a student's performance.

"I think they're all much happier to have something to look forward to besides homework and their jobs, a lot of them have part-time jobs," Pridgeon said.

For Don Nagle, his son is a senior who's starting to hear back from schools on athletic scholarships, so this season could impact both his athletic and academic future.

"He's got offers in football, hockey and baseball, but baseball is his love," Nagle said.

This season is crucial in his future decision-making, but Nagle says it impacts more than just the game.

"He's got a whole different outlook and a whole different way he takes his morning to night. He has a little jump in his step," Nagle said.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer suggested, not mandated, a two-week pause in sports as cases in the state climb.

"Everyone is tired. I am too. But we've got to grit our teeth and keep moving forward, making great progress. We are getting close," Whitmer said.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association put out guidelines requiring weekly testing for active teams.

If a game has to be moved, they can re-schedule up until that sport's final and masking and social distancing are expected to be enforced. 

You could see it at Bedford, with families spaced out and red X's to signify six feet apart. That's enough to comfort Pridgeon.

"I think Bedford has instituted the proper safety protocols with the weekly testing," Pridgeon said.

Every other parent we spoke to today believes with precautions, baseball is safe and say there shouldn't be a delay or stop to the season.

The MHSAA has also said schools can voluntarily pause or delay practices and games with no impact on tournament eligibility this spring.