CHICOPEE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A fall sports vote in the City of Chicopee wrapped up Wednesday night. A divided school committee debated on what sports should be allowed this fall.

The Chicopee School Committee voted to give the green light for fall sports to play, but a split school committee debated the status of girl’s volleyball, citing concerns with indoor games.

"I believe kids should go back and have a chance to play," said Chicopee School Committee member Doug Girouard.

A divided school committee said the vote on whether fall sports will play or not was a tough decision, the debate lasting almost an hour.

In a meeting on Wednesday night, tensions were rising as committee members voted on each fall sport in the city, gymnastics, cross country, golf, soccer, and volleyball.

"It’s all about safety, everything we’re doing nowadays is about safety," he said. "I think it’s safe enough for kids to play, and there are plans in place to keep the kids protected."

While some advocated for student-athletes to take the field, others cited concerns about particular sports, soccer, and volleyball.

"It’s just a risk not worth taking. We could end up with all of our students in remote learning for the year because of it," said Chicopee School Committee member Donald Lamothe.

The committee voted unanimously on gymnastics, cross country, and golf, but soccer was passed with an 8-4 vote.

Volleyball on the other hand saw a split 6-6 initial vote after members brought up concerns about playing indoors, sparking controversy on stage.

"I see a little hypocrisy here, we have gymnastics inside, I know there’s no ball, but they are using the same balance beams. They’re still indoors. We have kids going to school every day indoors, we trust the masks and the social distancing, but why for girls volleyball do we not?" noted Chicopee School Committee member.

After an 8-4 final vote, volleyball was cleared to play alongside the rest of the fall sports, but some aren’t satisfied with the decision.

"Until we’re to the point where we don’t have to wear these, I have a problem. I played volleyball. When you’re going after the ball, you’re going near the person next to you," Lamothe added.

With the committee voting on fall sports to play, student-athletes can begin practicing as early as Friday.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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