Mayor’s Night Hoops program returns for youth with changes due to COVID-19

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Indoor sports have been one of the last things to return as Kansas City tries to make its comeback from coronavirus.

Organizers have had to try to figure out how to control the spread in indoor situations where you can’t wear masks.

Since 1992 summer nights in Kansas City have meant youth basketball at community centers. But this year the Mayor’s Night Hoops program is just getting its start this week. 

Organizers said figuring out a way to bring back the program during the pandemic is important because 31 of the city’s 101 homicide victims this year and 27 of the suspects so far have been under the age of 25.

“It was important we came back just to make sure that kids had something to do, especially with the violence going on in the city. We wanted to make sure we had opportunities in the teen and pre-teen age range,” said Jen Jutte, Kansas City parks supervisor.

Anyone entering the gym is asked about potential exposure to coronavirus and has their temperature checked. They also are sanitizing basketballs and surfaces.

Both girls sessions on Monday and Tuesday and boys Wednesday and Thursday are limited to 60 participants, and instead of 5-on-5 games on each court, they’re doing skills and drills clinics. 

“It’s very structured from what I seen yesterday, so I think honestly this will be something good for the kids to be able to come out be together,” parent Jade Hubbard said. “I mean, they are doing the whole check before they come in, so it definitely should help prevent toward the whole corona situation.”

Space is still available. Registration for the six-week program is $5.

If indoor sports using your hands isn’t your thing right now, there’s also a Mayor Night Kicks soccer program.

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