The following press release is being made this afternoon at 1:00. There have been a number of meetings lately involving the leaders from all the Foothills Council districts, and a decision has been made regarding fall athletics. I know this news will be disappointing to many of our student-athletes, coaches and families, but by postponing some sports to the fall season 2 (to be held in spring 2021) there is a chance for more students to participate. This will help us start small and do it well. We have clear and specific guidance for the sports we intend to hold this fall.
We learned that if a player was COVID-19 positive, NYSDOH and Albany would direct not only both teams and coaches to quarantine, but all the students, teachers, bus drivers and riders each player and coach came into contact with would have to quarantine, too. This means our school could in essence be shut down for the exposure to a player or coach from another school.
Teams that are not playing this fall are not permitted to practice or hold conditioning sessions at this time, nor should athletes gather on school fields. We ask parents to help us reinforce this with students. As soon as there is a change to this rule we will let the school community know.
Foothills Council to play low-risk, varsity-level contests this fall
After a series of meetings and a thorough review of guidance from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA), Section 2 and the NYS Department of Health, the Foothills Council has decided to move forward with playing low-risk fall (season 1) athletics at the varsity level, with a Sept. 21 start date for school districts that choose to participate. There will be no junior varsity (JV) or modified athletics this fall. The fall season 1 will end on Nov. 21.
Sports classified as moderate and high risk (season 2) will be postponed until March 1, 2021.
The Foothills Council includes teams from Amsterdam, Broadalbin-Perth, Glens Falls, Gloversville, Johnstown, Hudson Falls, Schuylerville, Scotia-Glenville, South Glens Falls and Queensbury. The season will consist of a Foothills-only conference schedule.
The size of varsity team rosters will be left to each individual school’s discretion. Travel rosters will be limited to one bus (18-22 students). Every effort will be made to host a championship in each sport.
Varsity sports beginning Monday, Sept. 21, 2020 (Fall sports season 1)
- Boys & Girls Cross Country
- Boys & Girls Golf
- Girls Tennis
Sports postponed until March 1, 2021 (Fall sports season 2)
- Cheer – Varsity & JV
- Field Hockey – Varsity, JV, Modified 7/8
- Football – Varsity, JV, Modified 7/8
- Boys & Girls Soccer
- Girls Swimming & Diving – Varsity
- Girls Volleyball – Varsity, JV, Modified 7/8
- Boys Volleyball – Varsity, JV, Modified 7/8
Health and safety protocols
A number of modifications will be made to the season to ensure the safest environment for all participants.
- All participants and personnel (coaches, athletes, referees, clock operators, scorekeepers, security/game/course managers and administrators) will be required to wear an acceptable face covering at all times throughout each contest.
- All athletes must wear a mask during all athletic contests unless it is determined to be a medical necessity that the athlete cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition recognized as a disability pursuant to the Americans With Disabilities Act. In such an event, the athlete must submit a written request to their school’s athletic director. A determination will be made in consultation with the school’s physician and the school’s attorney as to how to proceed. If approved by the school, the request will then be forwarded to the Foothills Council President with the written medical documentation to support the request to not wear a mask during the athletic contest due to the athlete’s medical condition. The Foothills Council will then determine, after an interactive process, whether there can be a reasonable accommodation made for that athlete. Such a request and determination must be made prior to the athletic contest involved.
- Each student will be responsible for his or her own supplies and distancing bags on the sidelines. These include:
- Water bottles and water supply
- Multiple mouth guards and personal protective equipment
- Clothing and towels
- When not engaged in warmups or gameplay, student athletes will remain a minimum of six feet socially distant.
- Coaches will remain six feet socially distant unless demonstrating a skill/play execution.
- No handshakes, first bumps or unnecessary physical contact before, during and after contests.
- Coaches and game day personnel will clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces and equipment.
- Student athletes will use hand sanitizer before, during and after competitions, particularly tennis.
Additional and specific protocols will be shared with student athletes based on their sport.
No spectators will be permitted to attend any Foothills Council competitions for the 2020 fall sports season 1. The sole focus is to provide student athletes with the safest competitive environment possible and ensure every effort is taken to safeguard the interscholastic athletic season from a potential shutdown.
Please know that we have worked, and will continue to work, to keep our student athletes, coaches and officials safe while providing the best possible athletics experience this fall.
- If school is closed for in-person education during the school year because of an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases, school-sponsored sports must be suspended until in-person education is resumed.
- Each district will work with its local department of health to follow quarantine and testing guidance if a student athlete or coach tests positive for COVID-19.
- Section 2 will provide additional directives should the 2020 fall sports season 1 be canceled or postponed because of the pandemic.
Return to play from confirmed COVID-19 cases
- Schools will follow their local department of health and district medical director protocols
- Once a student has been cleared for participation following a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, the NYSPHSAA handbook states, “each incidence of prolonged absence should be reviewed individually by the coach and the athletic director, consulting with the school physician when necessary, and a reasonable amount of practice time and playing time be established based on the athlete’s readiness for safe return to competition.”