With a week left in the abbreviated Frontier League fall season, Lowville and Copenhagen will play out their remaining games despite the recent COVID-19 outbreaks in Lewis County.
On Friday, Beaver River moved to remote learning for two weeks after a student and staff member tested positive for COVID-19; as a result, the Beavers’ remaining fall schedules were canceled. On Tuesday, South Lewis announced their season is done.
Superintendents of the remaining three schools met this weekend to discuss whether continuing to participate in sports would jeopardize their ability to keep their school open.
Much of those concerns were alleviated this past weekend when about 89 student athletes and 17 coaches from Beaver River, Lowville, Copenhagen and South Lewis tested negative for the virus at the Lewis County General Hospital.
“We were comfortable hearing that after the 90 athletes were tested, there were zero positive cases,” Copenhagen superintendent Scott Connell said Monday afternoon. “We felt comfortable that we had all played Beaver River (and there had been no transmission), that was our concern.”
The season was originally put on hold last Friday with all games being postponed through Monday, giving time for the superintendents time to decide how to best move forward.
“We decided to pause through (Monday) just because the decision was made late afternoon Sunday and we wanted to make sure that, since we paused on Friday until further notice, we didn’t want them to scramble around and have kids go to school without their equipment,” Connell said. “We had games today, which would have been a pain in the neck to try to reschedule right away.”
With only a week remaining in the FL fall season, the three remaining school districts have constructed an adjusted schedule in which they will each play two more games.
On Tuesday, the South Lewis boys soccer team will play at Copenhagen at 5 p.m., with the girls soccer team hosting Copenhagen at 4:30 p.m.
On Wednesday, Lowville boys soccer will play at South Lewis at 5 p.m. and Lowville girls soccer team will host South Lewis at 4:30 p.m.
On Friday, Lowville boys soccer will play at Copenhagen at 5 p.m. and Lowville girls soccer will host Copenhagen at 4:30 p.m.
Tennis and swimming will also continue this week and into next week for Lowville, Copenhagen and South Lewis.
This is the 14th day of interscholastic athletics at Copenhagen, and Connell said sports hasn’t detracted from the school’s ability to safely conduct in-person learning.
“It hasn’t been a burden at all, it has actually been a breath of fresh air to get kids somewhat back to normal,” Connell said.
Connell, being the FL’s assistant executive director, wasn’t surprised to see Beaver River go full remote and therefore call off its fall season.
“I don’t think at that point they had a choice, it was such a high number,” Connell said. “There is so much contact tracing that had to happen.”
After experiencing two cases, Beaver River needed to quarantine roughly 100 of its students. This immediately resulted in ending its boys soccer season due to a lack of players to fill the roster, but ultimately it resulted in the school going remote for two weeks, effectively ending all of its fall sports seasons.
While most fall sports like soccer are wrapping up their regular seasons, girls swimming has just begun. Aside from Beaver River, Lowville and South Lewis began their seasons with a dual meet last Thursday and will race each other again Saturday.
According to Schedule Galaxy, an online informative host, two meets between the two schools are scheduled for next week, with the last being next Tuesday at South Lewis.