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New York State Council of Superintendents asks Cuomo to delay school sports until Jan. 1

Andrew Hyman
Updated: August 26, 2020 11:46 PM
Created: August 26, 2020 06:58 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The New York State Council of Superintendents is calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to delay school sports until Jan. 1.

The group sent a letter asking for the delay. In it, the group cites concerns that allowing sports to resume may jeopardize in-person classes.

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It also mentions conflicting guidelines that require students in gym classes to be 12 feet apart, when many sports require students to be closer than that, as well as logistical issues like transportation, locker rooms, spectators, personnel, all-remote students and hybrid schedules.

"It would be good to have those procedures worked out and tested before we take on things beyond just the routine classroom instruction," Deputy Director Robert Lowry said.

On Monday, Governor Cuomo gave low-contact sports the okay to return on Sep 21.

Lowry says the council sympathizes with superintendents and families, families like the Mura family in West Irondequoit. News10NBC spoke to Jennifer Mura, whose son is a senior on the football team, her daughter is entering her sophomore year and planned to play Field Hockey. After viewing the letter, she’s growing worried her son won’t have the chance to play out his final year.

"It's very important." Mura said "I can see his face, and the constant look of defeat on his face."

Lowry  says they consulted with superintendents around the state, and there was a ‘strong response’ in favor of the move, but when asked, he did not specify what regions or districts were on board. News10NBC reached  out to both Kathleen Graupman and Thomas Putnam, as they're both heads for superintendent organizations in Monroe County.

In a brief email from Graupman's office we were told she was not aware of the letter, but would be speaking with other superintendents. Putnam had not replied at the time the article was posted. 

News10NBC also reached out to the governor’s office for comment, and have not heard back.

New York State Public High School Athletic Association Executive Director Dr. Robert Zayas released the following statement:

“Governor Cuomo’s announcement on Monday to allow interscholastic athletics to resume this Fall is positive for student-athletes throughout New York State.  As an education based organization, I, along with the Officers of NYPSHSAA respect school district leaders who want to postpone high school sports until January.  For those school leaders who wish to provide interscholastic opportunities for their students, our association will continue reviewing guidance and provide resources to ensure sports can be conducted in a manner consistent with state and federal COVID-19 guidelines to minimize risks for all student-athletes.  We recognize Superintendents’ know what’s best for their school community and certainly have the authority and autonomy to administer their district’s athletic programs as they deem appropriate.”

The organization previously said additional meetings are needed before making a final decision. In the Long Island area, Section VIII Athletics announced it was delaying the fall sports season until January 2021.

As for Mura, she says she ultimately wants her kids to be safe-and understands if the season is postponed, but, just wants a clear answer.

"They can deal with it if they know what's coming, but not knowing in the constant back-and-forth it's just too much on them," she said

News10NBC will continue to follow this story.


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