‘High risk’ sports (updated Feb. 6)

Livestreaming athletics events

DCS is livestreaming at-home athletics events on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4QqT8Jzrxs8uGS7rCyHccg/featured. We are pleased to connect our community to these events through livestreams, as spectators are currently not allowed to attend athletics events in-person because of COVID-19 health and safety measures. Please continue to support our student athletes by watching them. Go Eagles!

Feb. 6 update

Our Board of Education and our district’s medical director have approved our plans for wrestling, basketball, and cheerleading. These plans can be viewed on the athletics page. Currently, our county’s 7-day rolling average positivity rate is 3.6%–below the 4.0% 7-day rolling positivity average. This means we can now begin our winter sports season! I would like to remind athletes that we are counting on them to obey all safety protocols–both for their well-being and the health of the rest of our school community. While spectators are not permitted at these higher risk sporting events, many home and away events will be live-streamed. Streaming links should available soon.

Feb. 3 update

Schenectady County’s 7-day rolling positivity average is very close to the 4.0% threshold set by Public Health Services. DCS has created plans for wrestling, cheerleading and basketball in accordance with SCPHS guidelines. These plans include specific information on testing, PPE and other risk mitigation strategies. The plans will now move on to our district’s medical director and, then, to our Board of Education at a special meeting on Wednesday evening for approval. In the meantime DCS Athletic Director Penny Hardenstine has begun distributing information to students to prepare on the chance that winter sports can proceed.

Jan. 29 update

I know that many of you are eagerly awaiting news about when higher-risk sports can begin. We have been posting updates as we learn information on this webpage and will continue doing so. 

Currently, Schenectady County does not meet the requirements for resuming higher-risk sports as established by Schenectady County Public Health Services. While we wait for the positivity rate to decline to acceptable levels, we will prepare the individual safety plans required by the guidelines. (View the state’s 7-day rolling average positivity rate dashboard.)

Like all of you, I look forward to a time when we can resume all of the district’s normal activities safely. While the finish line is in sight, we still have a bit to go. I urge you all to continue the preventative measures we know are effective and stay optimistic. We have made it this far together — let’s finish the race! 

Jan. 28 update

As you may be aware, Gov. Cuomo announced that “higher risk” sports can resume Feb. 1 if local health authorities like county health departments allow. 

Schenectady County Public Health Services and other county health departments released guidance today, Jan. 28 to area schools. It sets parameters to resume these “higher risk” sports, including basketball, wrestling, volleyball, soccer and football. Among other requirements, there are limitations based on county-wide infection rates for COVID-19. Specifically, the 7-day rolling average rate in the county must be at or below 4% for any activity beyond individual or distanced group training to occur. Unfortunately, Schenectady County currently has a 7-day rolling average of 4.9%. This means we are unable to begin “higher risk” sports at this time.

While we wait for the rolling average to go down, we will address the other aspects of the guidance. We are required to create sport-specific safety plans and to get approval of each sport from both our medical director and our Board of Education. We will share updates as they become available. 

We will continue to work rapidly to follow the recommendations provided to us by health officials, as we have done all year. 

Jan. 27 update

The WAC released the following statement on Jan. 27 about high risk winter sports:

The Western Athletic Conference is developing a plan for the implementation of high risk winter sports (basketball, wrestling and cheerleading) with an anticipated start date of Feb. 1. Our goal is to provide a safe, positive and meaningful interscholastic athletic experience for our students. We are working in consultation with our local county health departments to ensure the health and safety of our students, coaches, staff, officials and school communities. We appreciate the time our health departments are directing towards interscholastic athletics during these trying circumstances.

As has become the norm with this pandemic, this situation is very fluid and ever changing. We will share an update on an official start date as more information becomes available and necessary approvals have been granted. Please continue to be patient, but ready to begin the season quickly if approval has been given. Thank you for your continued support during this most challenging time.

Original post on Jan. 25

The governor’s office has announced that “higher risk” sports can resume Feb. 1. Guidance from the governor’s office says “individual or distanced group training and organized no/low-contact group training” can start next month, along with games and/or tournaments if local health authorities like county health departments allow.

Although this is exciting news for our athletes, there are still many hurdles to clear before our local Departments of Health, New York State Public High School Athletic Association, Section 2, Western Athletic Conference and school superintendents give the final all clear for our athletes to play. Decision making is already underway. As soon as we have an official decision, we will let everyone know.

High school winter sports deemed “high-risk” have been on hold since a December announcement from the NYSPHSAA. They had said high-risk sports would be on hold until authorized by the state. The state’s guidance opens the door for the sports to resume.

Winter state championships have already been canceled by the NYSPHSAA.