Jefferson County schools postpone fall sports until March, Lewis County schools move forward

School sports decision

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Jefferson County school districts have decided to postpone all fall sports until March 1, 2021. This decision also affects Sandy Creek Central School District in Oswego County.

Meanwhile, all schools in Lewis County will begin their low- and moderate-risk athletics this September 21, which is permitted under state rules.

With Jefferson County schools putting their Fall sports season on pause, that means soccer, cross country, girls' swimming, and girls' tennis will be played in the spring.

With Jefferson County schools putting their Fall sports season on pause, that means soccer, cross country, girls' swimming, and girls' tennis will be played in the spring.

Practices can begin March 1 of 2021.

LaFargeville Superintendent Travis Hoover says while all schools came to the same conclusion, each made its own decision to postpone fall sports.

“For us, the decision was really about making sure that what we are doing in the school building and what we’re doing outside the building matches the regulations,” Hoover said.

Meanwhile, Lewis County high schools in the Frontier League have decided to play their fall schedule.

“The schools had their choice, the Frontier League didn’t say whether we were going to have sports or not,” said league executive director Bob Kowalick. “The schools made up their own individual choice.”

Hoover says his district’s choice was made with health and safety in mind.

“We believe that we can postpone this and wait and hopefully have a safer time to put our kids on the field than we have right now,” he said.

And while sports may be vital to some students.

“This isn’t just about sports,” Hoover said. “This is about extracurricular activities, which include all kinds of things: musicals, drama, chorus concerts, Grandparents Day, Veterans Day, and in my opinion, it’s just not right to go out onto the field unless we are ready to do all of those things.”

In the meantime, many schools in the league plan to hold in-district intramural sports and other activities in place of traditional sports.

Notably, Immaculate Heart Central was not on the list of Jefferson County schools postponing fall sports.

IHC’s athletic director was unclear Wednesday night on what the district’s plans are, but said he will have more details today (Thursday).

Individual school districts began making announcements about their individual decisions on their Facebook pages Wednesday afternoon.

For example, Indian River Central School District posted, “The substantial risks associated with holding such events and the possibility that they may lead to COVID-19 outbreaks or exposure is too great to ignore.”

It added that it will instead begin offering in-district intramural sports and other extracurricular activities in the coming weeks.

Alexandria Central School said, “Soccer, which is the only fall sport at ACS, clearly cannot be played while maintaining social distancing. It is not responsible to put students at risk as we wait to see what happens with infection rates in the region.”

Not long after individual schools announced their decisions, superintendents of Jefferson County and Sandy Creek school districts issued a statement saying, in part, “This is unfortunately not a normal year, and it is safe to say that we are all still experiencing the negative impacts of uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 global pandemic. Therefore we cannot, in good conscience, operate under a business as usual model.”

Copyright 2020 WWNY. All rights reserved.