Broome County Executive Jason Garnar and his counterpart in Tioga County: Legislative Chair Martha Sauerbrey, both say they are working with school districts on getting high-risk student sports programs back in practice and competitions following Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement late in the afternoon January 22 that sports could resume February 1.

Photo Courtesy of SUNY Broome Sports
Photo Courtesy of SUNY Broome Sports

Garnar says while that date was mentioned by the Governor, there is no rush to resume things like basketball and wrestling if proper COVID safety protocols aren’t ready.  Broome County Health Department director Rebecca Kauffman says they are close to coming up with the final plans based on discussions with the local school districts but also looking at the districts outside the county where area schools would be engaged in conference and league play and even talking to other states where high school sports have been allowed to some degree, like Pennsylvania.

Tioga County officials say they have been talking with school districts and are examining the risk involved in allowing the return of some of the more high-contact sports.  Officials are also weighing whether there is a more transmissibile variant of COVID-19, ability to monitor and enforce compliance with pandemic guidelines and contact tracing issues.

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The school districts and, ultimately, the parents will have the final say on whether or not children resume scholastic athletics during the pandemic.

Broome County’s executive says there should also be consideration beyond sports since activities like music, drama and other arts are also important to children’s interaction, education and development. He say, unlike an ongoing conversation about sports, those acttivities have not been mentioned.

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