Updated: State Superintendents Group Wants Delay on Sports

A state school superintendents organization asked Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo  on Wednesday to delay the resumption of school sports until January, citing the need to focus to classroom learning.

“Authorizing school athletics could jeopardize successful resumption of in-person learning for students,” wrote Charles S. Dedrick, executive director The Council of School Superintendents. ” Our leaders want a successful reopening and are expressing a strong desire to defer all other activities that could endanger the health and safety of students and delay their start in the classroom. Students need to be in school, with their friends and teachers as soon as possible. School leaders need to be focused on this effort and not have their attention diverted to extracurricular activities at this moment. It is our view that school athletics will risk this endeavor and that is not a compromise we believe should be taken.

“We are sympathetic to the students and families that have been hoping and preparing for school athletics this fall. We are not currently calling for cancelling all athletics for the school year. We would request a delay in school athletics until January 1,” the letter read. “Since schools closed in March, Superintendents have been laser-focused on how to get their students back in the classroom this fall. Superintendents have put their plans out to the public and the vast majority are set for some level of in-person learning starting in a couple of weeks. Authorizing school athletics could jeopardize successful resumption of in-person learning for students.” 

The organization represents 800 educators around the state.

Newsday reported Wednesday that Suffolk County athletic leaders decided to keep to the state plan to resume lower-risk sports approved to start in September, while Nassau County voted to delay athletics until January. On Monday, Cuomo had said that cross country, soccer, tennis, field hockey and swimming could start on Sept. 21.

South Huntington athletic director Dr. James Wright said, “I am encouraged by Section XI’s commitment to remain patient until the Department of Health and Governor Cuomo clarify what a return to play looks like. I, and all the directors are all unified in understanding that schools need to open and to ensure that children are safe. With that in mind, there are still opportunities for low risk sports to be considered and for off-season teams to initiate contact for training  by following the NFHS guidelines for safe return to play.”

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