Coronavirus - sports restrictions

CLYMER, N.Y. – A recent meeting of the Clymer Central School Board on Nov. 10 saw discussion of several policies for an upcoming winter sports season.

The first item dealt with possible spectator limits at indoor games to allow for proper social distancing and minimize Covid exposure. Several board members weighed in on the issue.

“We’ve gone back and forth as to whether or not we can restrict our fans,” said CCS Superintendent Beth Olson. 

She presented different options including limiting the number of spectators per athlete or placing restrictions on fans of the opposing team, but admitted to being apprehensive about doing so.

Board member Carole Siverling stated she is against imposing such restrictions and suggested a policy that families and guests who live in the same household be seated together.

“I would like to see us have the gym open to whoever chooses to come,” Siverling said, adding that attendees at indoor sporting events will still have to wear masks, per state regulations.

She also mentioned that space on the stage could be utilized for the purpose of spreading out. Athletic Director Jarrett Wiggers agreed, pointing out that this has been discussed as a viable option for seating student spectators.

Board President Ed Mulkearn aligned himself with previous comments, recommending that CCS not place limits on the number of spectators allowed.

Board members unanimously approved having no spectator limits for indoor games and reserved the right to revisit this policy should the guidance surrounding sporting events change.

Also discussed were new regulations Wiggers received from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA).

Dated Sept. 22, these guidelines state that student athletes are to be masked while playing, unless social distancing of no less than six feet can be maintained.

“In summary, it says that the extracurricular activities after school are going to be treated the same way as if they’re in school,” Wiggers said. “So basically, the mask mandate is going to carry over, athletes included.”

Wiggers and Olson recognized that serious concerns exist about whether athletes can tolerate wearing masks while running and exerting themselves.

“It’s a widespread concern,” Wiggers said. “We’re just going to do the best that we can to follow the guidelines and make sure that the kids are safe at the same time. It will probably take some extra monitoring, and the coaches are going to have to have that extra responsibility of monitoring how the kids are doing with the masks. I’m hopeful that there might be some additional guidance from the state that might make this a little easier for the district and the kids.” 

Olson said this is an emotional issue, and the district will release a more detailed statement following a meeting with neighboring districts, which took place Monday, and a meeting with NYSPHSAA District VI that is scheduled for Friday.

“The district will issue its position and protocols following those two meetings,” Olson said.

(1) comment

Cliff Claven

How can you make students wear masks while playing basketball? People need to be able to breathe! And how do you keep a mask on while wrestling? swimming? This madness needs to stop

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