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January 12, 2022 - 10:57pm

Spring baseball trip a go for Batavia City Schools’ athletes

posted by Joanne Beck in news, City Schools, Batavia Board of Education.

Junior and senior Varsity athletes can plan to resume Batavia City Schools’ annual tradition down south after the school board’s votes of approval Tuesday. 

Batavia Middle School physical education teacher and coach James Patric waxed a bit nostalgic during his presentation to the board. For at least 15 years, school athletes had taken a trip to Florida for an extensive training experience, he said.

“The feedback I get back from everybody is it’s an awesome trip,” Patric said to board members in the Batavia High School library. “They practice their skills … enjoy the good weather, they enjoy the camaraderie. It’s positive feedback.”

Once COVID-19 reared its unrelenting head, the trip was cancelled the past two years due to related restrictions, he said. He has done the legwork: research about where to go, how best to get there and what and who to take. 

“We’re here today proposing to go to Fort Pierce, Florida,” he said alongside Mike Bromley, director of health, physical education and athletics. “We haven’t stopped doing fundrasing since 2019; we have a considerable amount of money that we can contribute toward the trip.”

Patric has been working with Vincent “Vinny” Carlesi, president and director of operations at the Florida Coast Spring Training camp. Batting cages and well-groomed fields await eager athletes wanting to get in some focused practice. Carlesi is also a former professional baseball player with the Pittsburgh Pirates and a major league scout with the New York Yankees. He provides trusted guidance for how to have a successful trip, Patric said. 

It would be an estimated $800 to $900 per student, and Patric is confident that students can raise that through continued fundraising efforts. He checked into airfare, and the price tag of at least $700 a person was “not fair to ask,” he said. Air travel also didn’t have any security, which was a “risky” investment, he said, versus bus fare that is refundable. 

An alternative is ground transportation that will accommodate the junior and senior Varsity teams on a 56-passenger bus. With just over 30 people planning to attend, that will allow for space to social distance during travel, Patric said. 

The trip –– tentatively slated for early April –– would also include student tours, hotel accommodations, one scheduled stop for a driver switch, and testing participants for COVID-19 before they board the bus.

“Hopefully, all test negative and we can all go on the trip,” he said.  

Board member Alice Benedict questioned the ratio of only three chaperones for 25 kids. Patric explained that there are three paid chaperones, plus coaches and assistant coaches. Benedict agreed that six chaperones for 25 kids seemed much more reasonable. 

Another board question was about the virus: is there a plan for how to handle testing and isolation protocols while on the trip?

There is a hospital close by in case anyone needs to get tested or treated for illness, Patric said. Rooms at the hotel, a Comfort Inn, would be blocked off to allow for a positive COVID-19 case to quarantine, he said. The bus company has put up a plexiglass shield in the bus to protect healthy passengers from anyone who may be infected. 
Another option will be for parents that have also traveled to the Florida site drive students home. All of that would take “a lot of communication” with district officials, he said. 

Board member John Reigle pointed to the activity of doing things with kids.
“I think it’s a great idea,” he said. 

In other board news, newly hired Superintendent Jason Smith thanked the board, students and faculty for the “very warm welcome” he received in the form of hugs, cards, songs and a tour of each of the four city schools. He thanked Interim Superintendent Scott Bischoping for helping to make a “very smooth transition to this district,” Smith said.

More tests, revised protocols ...

The district expects to receive more COVID-19 test kits for an ongoing “test-to-stay” initiative for students. Quite simply, if someone tests positive for the coronavirus, it’s time to go home and isolate per health department guidelines. If the test is negative, students may remain in school. Updated procedures now include being able to test asymptomatic and unvaccinated students who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

This is for people in school. Household exposures are not eligible for this program at this time, per New York State.

The following protocol will be implemented at Batavia City Schools, with support and approval from the Genesee County Department of Health:

  • The school nurse will test the exposed student.
  • If the student tests positive, we will send the student home, report the positive test, and require the student to isolate for five (5) days. The student may return to school as long as they are asymptomatic (not showing symptoms) at the end of the period of isolation. 
  • If the student tests negative and as long as they are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, they may continue to attend school but will be required to: 
  • Quarantine from all other activities outside of the regular school day for five (5) days (athletics, after-school clubs, etc.)
  • The school nurse will test the student again six (6) days after the initial test.

Quarantine and isolation protocols include:

The isolation period for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will be five days as long as the individual is asymptomatic (not showing symptoms) at the end of the period of isolation. Quarantine periods for individuals exposed to COVID-19 are as follows:

  • Unvaccinated: Five days 
  • Fully vaccinated, eligible for a booster, but not yet boosted: Five days 
  • Fully vaccinated and boosted, or not yet eligible for a booster: Zero days. 

Should symptoms appear, be sure to quarantine and seek testing. If you have any questions about the new protocols, contact your child’s school nurse at 585-343-2480.

Batavia High School: Nancy Haitz – [email protected] Ext. 2004

Batavia Middle School: Jennifer Caudill – [email protected] Ext. 3003

John Kennedy Intermediate: Cheryl Wagner – [email protected] Ext. 5001

Jackson Primary: Theresa Pellegrino – [email protected] Ext. 4001

Community forum, musical role ...

Smith will be the featured guest for an online community forum at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. 40 questions had been submitted by Tuesday and he and colleagues will be answering those during the streamed event, he said. For more information, go to: https://www.bataviacsd.org/article/618522

The superintendent, a 1990 BHS graduate, will also be playing “a mean second trombone” during an upcoming BHS Alumni Jazz Ensemble at 2 p.m. on Jan. 23. Serving as a fundraiser for the BHS  Scholastic Winter Guard, the concert includes other district notables BHS Principal Paul Kesler on trumpet, and music teachers Sean Williams, Collin Murtaugh, and Stuart Mclean in the ensemble. Additional BHS alumni, including Paul Spiotta, Brandon Luce, Jackie McLean, Matt Holota, Harold McJury, Frank Panepento, Joshua Pacino, Quentin Branciforte, Mark Hoerbelt, Ross Chua, Mary Murphy, Jason Mapes and Bob Pastecki. 

Tickets for the concert are $10 for adults and $5 for students, and may be purchased at the door. Money raised from this event will defray the cost of winter guard trips in March and April. This will be the Scholastic Winter Guard’s first appearance at the WGI National Championships. 

Top photo: Batavia Middle School physical education teacher James Patric. BCSD staff photo.

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