North Summit High School is scheduled to play its first game of the football season this Friday.
Rick Brough reports some of the procedures around the Coalville gridiron are changing, due to the coronavirus outbreak, but one thing that won’t change: The team is still known as the North Summit Braves.
North Summit School District superintendent Jerre Holmes said the district is requiring face coverings from the spectators, and he hopes local fans will cooperate.
They’re taking other precautions on the field, and in particular for the players and coaches on the sidelines.
“The new rules, for this year only I’m sure, are allowing teams to line up, instead of from the 25-yard line to the 25, they’re letting us extend from the 10-yard line to the 10, which will allow us to separate those kids,” Holmes said. “Because really, if you consider when they trace for contact tracing, they’re looking for when they’ve been in close contact for 15 minutes. Well, the kids on the sideline would be more prone to that 15 minutes or longer. So we want to keep them separated the best we can, and with face coverings.”
While significant developments have occurred recently surrounding the use of Native Americans and Indigenous imagery as sports mascots – including the NFL team formerly known as the Washington Redskins deciding to get rid of its name after years of controversy – Holmes said the field will remain the home of the North Summit Braves.
“We’ve had a lot of Native American groups and tribes come to our homecoming assemblies,” Holmes said. “We had a 100-year celebration a few years ago that involved them. And at this point, I think that they feel like we have honored them. The name has not been offensive to them. I realize other nicknames have been offensive to many. But at this point, certainly no move that way because we feel like we are honoring, rather than mocking.”
The school district plans to begin its school year on Wednesday, Aug. 19. Holmes said it won’t get a student count until Oct. 1. But he also said he doesn’t expect to see much of an increase. He thinks the population is stable at just over a thousand youngsters.
He said the North Summit District hasn’t had a tax increase during his tenure, and they aren’t proposing one in the middle of a pandemic.
But he said the district has offered a good compensation package to its teachers. The starting salary is at about $44,000, but he said they offer one of the best insurance packages in the state.
“We were able to give steps and lanes and a two percent,” he said. “It was a great negotiation this year. I think our teachers and other staff realized that with what’s going on, in a lot of cases they weren’t expecting anything, hoping to get steps and lanes, and to maintain their insurance. But because of our property tax, not the rate increase but the revenue increase, we were able to, even with the cuts from the state, we were able to do two percent.”