Heightened COVID concerns means there will be no sports at Cobleskill-Richmondville this fall.
School board members Monday night followed Superintendent Carl Mummenthey’s recommendation to postpone fall athletics to the spring.
The state already moved high-risk sports with physical contact––football and volleyball––to the spring, and ultimately, the decision to play low- and moderate-risk sports was up to each Section, league and school, Mr. Mummenthey said.
C-R’s league, the Colonial Council, chose to go ahead with sports, which would start September 21, but each school in the Council could opt out.
That’s what C-R did.
Safety precautions made soccer, golf, cross country and other sports “logistically impossible,” Mr. Mummenthey said, with limited bus capacity, masks, disinfecting and sanitizing balls and equipment and bathrooms.
Also, he added, schools would have to “full staff every game” to monitor spectators’ limited numbers, masks and social distancing.
“In the end, we were guided by safety,” Mr. Mummenthey said.
Most board members agreed with him, but Aimee Yorke wondered how many schools C-R could play if some moved to spring and others stayed in fall.
“If other schools play in the fall, who’s left to play in the spring?” asked Ms. Yorke, who has a senior who would play sports.
Athletic Director John Henry said two or three other Colonial Council schools have opted out of fall sports, as has the Western Athletic Conference, the league in which Schoharie and Middleburgh play.
C-R could play those schools, Coach Henry said.
Mr. Mummenthey added that even if C-R stayed with fall sports, there would be fewer schools to play.
And, Mr. Mummenthey said afterwards, it’s likely that more Colonial Council schools will opt out by the end of the week.
Noting that the district faces a severe cut in state aid, Ms. Yorke asked whether sports in the spring would be eliminated altogether.
“The financial plan now doesn’t include cutting sports,” Mr. Mummenthey replied.
Other board members supported the decision. Dominga Lent wondered how C-R could start an uncertain school year this week and begin sports just seven days later.
“It’s just too early,” agreed Vice President Steve Philbrick. “Let’s get students back in school first.”
Josh McCann pointed out that if C-R can’t have other extra-curriculars–-band, orchestra and choir––the school probably shouldn’t have sports.
“I think it’s going to be a struggle to keep school open,” Mr. McCann added. “Spring is better than nothing.”
Ms. Lent also raised safety concerns about C-R athletes traveling to another school and visiting athletes coming here.
A former Cobleskill athlete himself, President Bruce Tryon described himself as a “huge proponent of sports” but agreed postponing the fall season was the right choice.
Ms. Yorke didn’t support the decision but accepted it reluctantly.
“As a board member, I understand,” she said. “As a mom, I’m devastated.”
“We feel your pain,” Mr. Mummenthey said. “These are painful decisions for our students. We will do everything we can” to make sure spring sports happen.
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In a somewhat related move, the board accepted ProActive Physical Therapy & Wellness’s offer to provide services for students.
Mr. Mummenthey explained that even though there are no fall sports, students using the weight room and in intra-murals could use the services.