On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced low risk high school sports could begin play on September 21st.
The school superintendents of New York State aren’t quite ready.
The New York State Council of School Superintendents publicized on Wednesday a letter to Cuomo asking for the postponement of high school sports until January 1st.
The letter points that athletics includes a number of dynamics that could further complicate the already intricate task of just getting kids into school. These dynamics include team transportation, a policy on fans and use of locker rooms.
“Authorizing school athletics could jeopardize successful resumption of in-person learning for students,” the letter states.
The letter points out that schools are already under a significant amount of pressure to get children simply back in class. There is plenty of uncertainty that comes with that chore. School districts don’t need more.
“Students need to be in school with their friends and teachers as soon as possible,” the letter states. “School leaders need to be focused on this effort and not have their attention diverted to extracurricular activities.”
On Thursday, in a conference call with reporters, Cuomo indicated that he will not be reversing his decision.
“That does not mean that high sports must commence, it means it can commence. Can, not must,” says Cuomo. “It’s up to the individual school district to determine if they want to go ahead with the sports program.“
The Council is sympathetic that athletes have worked hard to get ready and their desire to get back on the field. They ask that all three seasons of sports are consolidated into the final six months of the school year, running January to June. Something similar was one of the plans put forward by the governing body of state sports–the NYSPHSAA–last month.