Some play waiting game when it comes to starting high-risk winter sports

WWNY Some play waiting game when it comes to starting high-risk winter sports

COPENHAGEN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Are student athletes putting on game-day jerseys soon? The state says let’s go, but local health departments need to be okay with it. The Monday deadline is fast approaching and schools in one county are ready, while schools in two others will play the waiting game.

It’s game on for Lewis County schools. Frontier League Assistant Director and Copenhagen Superintendent Scott Connell says all of the schools are on board to start high-risk winter sports Monday.

Earlier in the week, Lewis County Manager Ryan Piche gave his support and Connell says the superintendents are meeting with public health Wednesday night to finalize the details.

“We’re just trying to iron out all details with spectators and testing and all those things, bussing, things we know we can do, just not sure how we’re going to do those yet,” said Connell.

Connell says the schools are hoping public health can provide tests to student athletes weekly.

“So we know on a Wednesday when Beaver River comes to Copenhagen to play, those kids have had a negative test within the prior week,” he said.

As for St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties, they’re playing a different game - the waiting game.

Jefferson County Public Health Planner Faith Lustik says officials will not have a decision for Monday, but they are hoping to have a decision in the next two weeks, meaning high-risk sports will have to wait.

St. Lawrence County Public Health has yet to return our call. But Section 10, which encompasses schools in the county, says it is not ready to make a decision right now either.

Athletic directors say it’s important to be patient.

“Having this released friday afternoon at 3:45 put everybody against the 8 ball trying to make this happen. Everybody was so excited that we might have sports, but there’s so much planning that has to take place,” said Mark Wilson, Potsdam High School athletic director.

But they are glad to give some hope back to the student athletes.

“I’m ecxcited that there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Whether that light will be seen in the next weeks or next months, it is promising that we’re going to be doing something,” said Bob Alexander, Indian River athletic director.

High risk sports include basketball, ice hockey, wrestling, and competitive cheerleading.

Copyright 2021 WWNY. All rights reserved.