Limited spectators allowed at scholastic and youth sports

The Pulaski High School student section cheers during a varsity boys basketball game against visiting Altmar-Parish-Williamstown in February 2020. Steven J. Pallone photo.

OSWEGO — The Oswego County Department of Health announced a revision to its policy regarding high-risk scholastic and youth sports on Monday to allow for limited spectators.

County schools will be permitted to admit the lesser of two home team spectators per athlete or 50% of their spectator area at indoor events, effective on March 3.

Athletes can also now travel to sporting events in other Section 3 counties, including Onondaga, Cayuga, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Herkimer, Cortland, Chenango and Tompkins.

The changes were made to reflect the reduced number of new positive COVID-19 cases in the county, according to Public Health Director, Jiancheng Huang. The policy could be changed again if there is a rise in the county’s COVID-19 positivity rate or if new variants are found in the county.

“In looking at the data over the past three months, we see that the rate of new positive cases declined in February,” Huang stated in the release. “But even so, our seven-day accumulated counts in February were much higher than the pre-vaccine period in October 2020. This means that the virus continues to be very active in our county and case counts could become high again. All of us need to continue to practice our preventive measures.”

The Oswego County Department of Health approved the return of high-risk winter sports for area teams on Jan. 26 and followed up with guidance on Feb. 1 that included a ban on spectators.

All eight area districts have been competing in winter sports and implemented live streaming to allow for community members to watch games from home.

Most area basketball and ice hockey teams are approaching the midway point of their abbreviated schedules this week and the high school winter sports season will wrap up later this month.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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