Dear Byron-Bergen Parents/Guardians:
On Monday (8/24), Governor Cuomo announced that lower-risk school sports in all regions may begin on September 21st. While I am sure our student athletes are eager to represent B-B, the Genesee Valley School Superintendents are requesting clarification of the Interim Guidance for In-person Instruction at Pre-K to Grade 12 Schools During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (“Guidance”). This is the Guidance by which all New York State districts have based their reopening plans.
Page ten (10) of the New York State Department of Health Guidance states:
Social Distancing for Certain Activities
Responsible Parties should ensure that a distance of twelve feet in all directions is maintained between individuals while participating in activities [that] require projecting the voice (e.g., singing), playing a wind instrument, or aerobic activity resulting in heavy breathing (e.g., participating in gym classes).
Districts cannot guarantee twelve (12) feet of distance will be maintained in all directions between individuals participating in tennis (doubles only), soccer, cross country, field hockey and swimming.
The Superintendents in our region are eager to provide students and staff with a safe reopening experience. To do so, we are respectfully requesting answers to the following from New York State Departments of Education and Health:
- Does the Guidance for reopening schools supersede the decision to initiate lower-risk sports?
- If individuals are unable to maintain twelve (12) feet of distance during aerobic activity resulting in heavy breathing, are they required to wear masks while participating in interscholastic athletics?
Clarification on these questions as well as a clear budget directive from the New York State Department of Budget will provide the necessary information to support our decision making processes. I want our students to have every intellectual, physical, and social opportunity that we can safely provide. I will keep the community updated as we learn more.
Byron-Bergen Central School District Superintendent