'Let them play' resolution for winter school sports gets bipartisan support in Michigan Senate

The Michigan Senate has adopted a resolution to get high school student-athletes back into sports after it was introduced in the Senate this week.

The 'Let them play' resolution has no binding but does hold weight by showing bipartisan support to Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the state health department.

"We have no option in Michigan but to get these kids back into school and back into sports - their mental health literally depends on it," said Jayme McElvany, the mother of a student-athlete from Milan 

Gov. Whitmer has maintained the pause on high school sports including basketball and wrestling are still necessary but state Senator Dale Zorn (R-Ida) said she's cherry-picking what can and cannot be allowed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It seems like the governor has picked and chosen the winners and losers during this whole pandemic," he said.

Zorn introduced the resolution, which hinges on a study done by the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) that claims 30,000 rapid COVID tests were given to high school athletes over the past three months and had a negative rate of 99.8 percent.

"We keep asking the state of Michigan where is your science, because we have our science," McElvany said.

Jayme McElvaney

McElvany helped start the 'Let them play' movement in August during a rally in Lansing. Now she's doubling down on what lawmakers are doing and has filed suit against the head of the MDHHS to reinstate high school sports as soon as possible.

"I get messages from students on a daily basis begging me for help. I got a message from a mom the other day she was currently holding her 6-foot-2 son in her lap as he was crying over exhaustion that we are putting these kids through," she said.

As of the most recent epidemic order, high school winter sports are postponed until at least Feb. 21.

The governor's office released this statement in response to the 'Let them play' movement: 

"COVID-19 has been challenging for so many, from small business owners to parents who want to get their kids back to in-person learning and play sports, this hasn't been easy, yet this virus is still a genuine threat. COVID-19 is mutating, and that mutation is in Michigan, which is why we must take steps towards re-engagement strategically and watch the data. Governor Whitmer will continue to make data-focused decisions that protect the public health of Michiganders. Governor Whitmer is optimistic that we can take steps towards re-engagement in sports, just like we are doing with indoor dining, and is reviewing with her public health experts the safest steps forward."