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January 25, 2021 - 6:12pm

Athletic directors, public health officials gearing up for start of 'high-risk' sports

posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, news.

Batavia High School's Athletic Director, Michael Bromley, said he's beyond excited that high-risk sports, delayed because of COVID, might be able to start their seasons on Feb. 1.

That could mean basketball, hockey and wrestling could all start next week but final approval for practices to begin must come local health departments. 

Public Health Director Paul Pettit said he has been on conference calls with health officials from the Finger Lakes Region, with more to come, as they work to develop a uniform approach to restarting specific high school sports.

Statement from Pettit: 

Genesee and Orleans counties are working with the other local health departments in Western New York and the Finger Lakes.  As a region, the local health departments are in support of reopening high-risk sports, but want to make sure it’s done safely and uniformly. As a region, we will be discussing and reviewing the state guidance with our school partners to ensure a consistent, regional approach.  

Bromley said he's also been on conference calls as athletic directions from throughout Section V work to figure out how they will piece together seasons that are starting weeks behind the normal schedule and just weeks before the normal spring schedule begins. And it will likely be a spring with a twist since football can possibly start back up March 1.

The regular spring sports schedule is slated to start April 19.

"The Section V COVID-19 task force and Winter/Fall II sports coordinators have already been communicating to finalize plans with membership," said Shaun Jeffers, spokesman for Section V. "Section V Athletics has 12 different health departments to coordinate with and will communicate with them throughout this process."

Also eligible to begin seasons are boys lacrosse, competitive cheerleading, and volleyball.

Bromley said his response after learning on Friday that high-risk sports were given the go-ahead, "I was so happy for the committed athletes and coaches in our district! We have proven in our fall season that we could successfully host events. Our winter athletes are currently involved in 'open gym' type activities following all COVID-19 protocol. I believe we are ready to safely begin the state-designated 'high risk' sports! Go Devils!"

Click here for the latest guidance (PDF), just released this evening, from NYS Public High School Athletic Association.

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