WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - After weeks of questions surrounding guidelines and protocol for fall high school sports, there appears to be a plan in place for sections and schools to work from.
Sportscaster Rob Krone had a chance to catch up with Section 10 Executive Director Carl Normandin to get some clarity on what’s been decided.
It’s been a busy week for the executive directors from the sections around New York State trying to get final plans in place for the 2020 fall high school sports season.
Normandin is also a member of the COVID-19 task force assembled by the state and was directly involved in discussions.
“Tuesday the State Athletic Associations COVID Task Force met Tuesday morning, mapped out a framework to develop enhanced regulations with regards to what we can and cannot offer, what districts may or may not be able to do with regards to interscholastic athletics. The executive directors met to discuss more direct plans for individual sections and what we may be able to offer and what we may or may not be able to offer,” said Normandin.
On Thursday night, Governor Andrew Cuomo released his final directives and guidance document to direct what can be done performance wise. And Normandin says as of right now the fall high school sports season is set to begin with practices on September 21st and games or scrimmages following after 10 practices with the exception of football, which would need 12 practices.
”So if we were to use that 10 day practice format, we start on the 21st the first available game date available to us if they so choose would be October the 2nd and that’s a Friday,” said Normandin.
Football, volleyball and sideline cheer are 3 fall sports that are considered high risk and will be allowed to practice but not start play until it is deemed safe by the state and health officials.
Governor Cuomo announced last week that fall sports could resume, but added the decision to do so would be left up to individual sections and school districts. And Normandin says balancing academics and athletics during COVID is a fine line.
”Our first and foremost effort is the academic area with athletics trying to be a part of that picture. I think the districts are considering not only the health and safety, the readiness of players when it deals with interscholastic athletics but also the financial piece. We all know that out districts are struggling at best for the financial end of things, so there’s gonna need to be some hard decisions made with regards to what we may be able to offer, levels of offerings, travel restrictions. Those type of things,” said Normandin.
As a member of the COVID-19 Task Force assembled, not only to study the impact of the virus on the fall sports season, but to put together a plan to get athletes back on the field safely, Normandin says the plan covers every scenario.
”We’ve actually planned for the worst and hoped for the best and I think this document and the group that we’ve worked with over the last 5 and a half months have really put together something that’s gonna be a user friendly, detail oriented on an sport by sport, facility by facility basis,” said Normandin.
While the final product was a lengthy and involved process, leaving people asking questions that couldn’t be answered, Normandin says there was a reason for that.
”We want to do what’s best for our kids, we realize that they’re hungry and ready to go but we’ve gotta get it right. As one of my colleagues said, we’ve got one shot to get this right. We’re well aware of- We can certainly get started and in a 2 week time frame, or a 2 day time frame, everything could be shut down,” said Normandin.