As the majority of Section 10 varsity soccer and cross country teams prepare to open their fall seasons next week, the global coronavirus pandemic has already struck too close to home for the Massena Central and Potsdam Central school districts.
At Massena, school officials announced that buildings would be closed to in-person classes until Oct. 13 due to an outbreak of 22 cases of COVID-19 in the community prior to the scheduled start of the school year on Sept. 8.
Meanwhile in Potsdam, school officials announced Thursday that high school classes would be switching solely to remote learning after a second case of the virus was confirmed in the school district Wednesday night.
In a letter sent to parents of students, Potsdam Superintendent Joann M. Chambers said that high school classes would remain completely remote until Oct. 2 while elementary and middle school students would continue attending classes in-person.
“Right now the way things stand, we’re scheduled to be out of school until October 13, which means we can’t starting having sports until then,” Massena Athletic Director Gavin Regan said.
“There is a chance that we could be back in school sooner if the cases start declining and my guess is we’d be able to get our sports going a day or two after that.”
Both districts were slated to begin their varsity boys and girls soccer and boys and girls cross country seasons next week along with most of the other schools in Section 10. According to New York State COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, athletics are not allowed when schools are closed to students.
“Our high school is staying closed to students until October 2nd, which is a Friday, so we’d be reopening on Monday, the 5th, and if we reopen school, we’d be starting our varsity sports on the same day,” Potsdam Central AD Mark Wilson said. “And since our middle school is still open to students, we’d be able to start our modified sports September 28th, which was the original date.”
Once teams begin getting ready for the fall season, the state requires at least 10 practice sessions for players before they would be eligible to compete in games.
“There was talk of reducing the number of practices to six days but since a lot of kids really haven’t had a lot of physical activity over the past six months, the state decided to adjust back to having 10 days of practices so that they have more time to get in somewhat better physical condition,” Wilson said.
“That means our varsity teams wouldn’t be able to start scheduling games until the middle of October.
“We’ll see how it goes,” he added.