Record Observer

Player ID, college prep soccer clinic for girls

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CHESTERTOW­N — The women’s soccer program at Washington College will host a player ID and college prep clinic for high schoolaged girls on Sunday, March 14. The day-long clinic, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., will be held at Roy Kirby Jr. Stadium.

Players will be evaluated in technical exercises, small group games and large group tactical sessions. They also will receive informatio­n about the college soccer recruiting process, according to a news release.

Head coach Tom Reilly, assistant coaches Dima Kaliakin and Kerrin Ehrensbeck, and goalkeeper coach James Bedrock will conduct all sessions.

The schedule includes two 90-minute field sessions, lunch, a campus tour and a question and answer session.

The cost is $85.

To register, see https:// forms.gle/dzqmsypehw­qhun dx8 or the Washington College women’s soccer website.

A Maryland lawmaker has introduced a bill at the state assembly to allow students to take “mental health days.”

The measure is proposed by State Del. Alonzo Washington of Prince George’s County. It would allow Maryland students to take a mental health day without a doctor’s note once a quarter.

“Right now, we know mental health and mental illness is running rampant, especially among students,” Washington said in an interview.

Washington is absolutely correct. We are in the midst of a mental health crisis here on the Shore, throughout Maryland and nationally.

The social isolation, economic and health stresses of the coronaviru­s pandemic have created new and magnified existing mental and behavioral health challenges across age groups.

Many of our senior citizens are having to deal with social isolation because of the pandemic and the pullbacks in travel and family gatherings as well as fewer in-person church services and restrictio­ns on visits to assisted living centers and nursing homes.

So many workers have lost their jobs or seen their hours and pay cut. The stresses they are facing are not just economic.

The isolation and lost jobs have also created new challenges for our friends, relatives and neighbors who have already been facing challenges with addiction, anxiety and other behavioral health issues.

The pandemic has seen a rise in drug overdoses on the Eastern Shore and across the country. Some of those heartbreak­ing overdoes have been fatal.

Too many of our friends and neighbors feel they lack hope and purpose. It is a problem we all need to address. Everyone should feel they are valued and loved.

Students also are not immune to all the stresses and strains stemming from the coronaviru­s pandemic. They have been forced to take classes at home — sometimes in toxic family situations.

Our students have missed out on classroom birthday celebratio­ns, proms and homecoming dances, sports and musical performanc­es and seeing their friends.

Some students are also missing out on counseling and other services they can get at schools. We are glad to see schools reopening for in-person classes. Schools are safe havens and places of hope for many students.

The motivation­s behind the mental health days are worthy. We have ignored and stigmatize­d behavioral and mental health challenges for far too long.

Whether you like the idea of “mental health days” or not, there is no argument we need to focus more on helping our neighbors — including students — who are wrestling with some of these challenges.

They need our prayers and support but also our resources and new ideas to help them.

On that last front, mental health days are not a bad idea to at least start a much-needed and overdue conversati­on.

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