High risk sport update for North Country schools

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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — During the second to last week of January, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that high risk athletics in state school districts were permitted to commence based on local health factors and district’s abilities.

This regulation allow sports teams to participate in individual or distanced group training and organized no, or low-contact, group training and other types of play including competitions and tournaments. This switch allowed Districts to decide if sports could begin on February 1, 2021.

As of Friday, January 29, this is where school districts in the North Country stand regarding high-risk sports.

Section X, which includes 24 school districts in Franklin and St. Lawrence Counties announced on Friday that high risk sports will not begin on February 1 due to concerns regarding the transmission of the virus.

St. Lawrence County Public Health Director Dana McGuire, stated “contact sports increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission.”

According to the Franklin-Essex-Hamilton and St. Lawrence County BOCES, a task force met multiple times to discuss this topic. However, the decision was made “based on the present health crisis in Franklin and St. Lawrence Counties and due to concerns about logistics necessary to make these programs safe and successful.”

Additionally, according to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, high-risk sports will be permitted to begin on February 1 in Lewis County, New York.

No official statement has been provided from school districts in this county.

Jefferson County has also not released an official announcement from the Department of Health. However, school districts have annouced that an agreement has been reached to pauce itnerscholatric atheltic competitions.

Schools in Jefferson County agreed that they will begin practices for Varsity and Junior Varsity winter sports o February 8, with competitions beginning March 1, 2021. Each district will individually decide “if and when the time is right to start winter sports.”

NYSPHSAA confirmed that high risk sports include basketball, competitive cheer and dance, ice hockey, wrestling, football, contact lacrosse and volleyball.

New York State Department of Health set minimum requirements for participation in high-risk athletics and local health departments, schools or organizations had the ability to establish further guidelines.

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