Supply chain issues to impact availability of spring sports equipment

DESE and the MIAA both hosted meetings to address issues surrounding COVID and how to make up for struggles that students and student-athletes have faced
Published: Feb. 15, 2022 at 5:33 PM EST
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WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - With the statewide school mask mandate ending in less than two weeks and supply chain issues impacting school sports right now, we have gotten new information that came out at a couple of meetings Tuesday.

DESE and the MIAA both hosted meetings Tuesday to address issues surrounding COVID and how to make up for struggles that students and student-athletes have faced over the last two years.

“This commonwealth faces many, many challenges in the current environment,” said Dr. Dana Mohler-Faria, Chair of the Competency Determination Committee. “Our future really depends on the preparation of our students.”

At a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education meeting on Tuesday, a push was made to increase academic standards for the class of 2026.

“We feel that raising the CD is important,” Dr. Mohler-Faria said.

A committee formed over the last two years that was made up of 18 educators, administrators and representatives who recommended alternate options for students who lagged behind in English language arts and math at the high-school level, especially due to the pandemic.

DESE commissioner Jeffrey Riley addressed topics of COVID-19, including updates of the at-home test kits for more than half a million students and staff in the Bay State.

“People have asked, well, what happens to the staff members who aren’t in this program? Will they be able to get a test over February and April vacation? And we are working on doing that very thing right now,” Riley said.

Meanwhile, for student athletes, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association held a tennis meeting to address supply issues leading into the spring season.

“There’s a tennis ball shortage, there is a shortage in tennis rackets,” one member said during Tuesday’s meeting.

This was echoed by the MIAA’s executive director during a board of directors meeting held last week.

“There are certain sports and certain places that trophies are just not in yet, or there are supply chain issues,” said Dr. Robert Baldwin.

We wanted to know how these issues could affect your child this spring, so we took questions to a West Springfield sporting goods store.

“I know it’s cold out and you don’t think of things like this, but spring’s right around the corner,” said Chad Andre, Owner of Andre’s Westside Sports Shop. “You don’t wanna wait, especially in this day and age.”

Andre told Western Mass News that it has been a constant struggle to get apparel, which he customizes for local sports teams.

“It’s probably gonna be a three or four week turnaround to get the product in because even shipping is a little slower than normal now, and for us to turn around, decorate it, three weeks to a month,” Andre explained.

This applies for hard goods as well, which are shipped out to local schools.

“Basically, for game balls for basketball, I was told I just wouldn’t receive them at all this winter,” Andre told us.

He added that he is doing what he can to send out orders, remain flexible, and double check his inventory.

“They’re coming in from, instead of one or two warehouses, five warehouses or not at all, so when I check stuff, I really have to pay attention to what’s what,” Andre said.

Dr. Baldwin of the MIAA said that lacrosse chest protectors have been particularly hard to come by. As far as Andre’s advice, order your spring sports equipment now before it is no longer available.