OSWEGO — The Oswego High School Board of Education voted to disallow spectators at fall sporting events during a meeting on Sept. 30.
The board made the decision with the safety of students and the community in mind, according to a press release from the district, and concluded it to be the safest and most cost-effective plan moving forward after examining guidelines presented by the state and Section 3 officials.
The board agreed that they would revisit the subject if anything changes regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Safety is our number one goal and was the driving force behind this decision,” Oswego superintendent Dr. Mathis Calvin III stated in the release. “Our varsity athletes are set to go out and have all the benefits of a competitive season while we do everything to give them the safest possible environment to play.”
The Oswego Board of Education narrowly approved allowing any fall sports by a 4-3 vote on Sept. 18, and practices started the following week for soccer, cross country, boys golf and girls tennis, all classified as low- and moderate-risk sports by the state.
Four other Oswego County districts participating in the approved fall sports — Altmar-Parish-Williamstown, Mexico, Phoenix and Pulaski — are allowing two fans in attendance per each player on the team. Some districts in Section 3, including Mexico, plan to live-stream games while others are working on providing that service.
During the Oswego board meeting, Dr. Calvin III reported that the four varsity sports are estimated to cost approximately $37,000 in added expenses due to COVID-19 requirements. That cost would be reduced by $10,000 by barring spectators, according to the release.
The added costs include hiring screeners for games, new signage, additional field bleacher markings, security, and other cleaning needs.
Dr. Calvin III stated in the meeting that the district was hoping to plan a fall sports senior night event with parents and families allowed to attend, but details had yet to be finalized entering the week.