In a special meeting this morning, the Middleburgh Board of Education gave the green light for high-risk varsity winter sports. This includes basketball and competitive cheer for remote and in-person students.
Wrestling is permitted as well, but since MCS merges with Berne-Knox-Westerlo for that sport, the team will have to wait until Albany County’s positivity rate for COVID-19 goes below 4%. The rates are reported daily and are tracked using a seven-day rolling average. The Health Department cleared the way for today’s BOE decision because Schoharie County’s positivity rate is below the mandated 4%.
“This will enable our student athletes to hit the courts tonight and throughout the weekend,” said Superintendent Brian Dunn. “I would like to thank the Board of Education for this decisive action to provide relief to our long-suffering student athletes. I would like to thank everyone who voiced their opinions to me and the BOE. There was overwhelming parent and community support for this vote.”
“Please know that we take COVID very seriously in our home and feel that with the proper guidelines in place our children can participate safely in school sports,” said Jamie and Tom Lacko, parents of two Middleburgh School students who want their children to have the opportunity to participate in school sports this year. “Our son is a senior and has worked very hard to maintain good grades, as well as be a good student and role model for others. His hope and our hope for him, is to have the opportunity one last time to play for Middleburgh High School with the teammates he has built strong relationships with as well as the coaches he looks up to.”
“We are thankful and excited for the opportunity to compete this winter,” said basketball Coach Gregg Johns. “Our school district, administration, Board of Education, teachers, community, parents, athletes and coaches have been very supportive throughout this most challenging school year. We have stuck together and are stronger for it. We will do everything we can to make this a positive and healthy experience for all of those who are involved.”
Superintendent Dunn is a major proponent of safely opening up more activities for students. “Please know that we are equity-focused in Middleburgh and we are next looking to the Governor to loosen restrictions for our arts programs so that they can soon get back to acting, singing and performing in traditional ways,” said Dunn. He added, “Let’s continue to be vigilant with our common sense protocols to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in our schools: masks, physical distancing and hand washing are essential to keep everyone safe and our schools open.”
Athletes participating in these high-risk sports will be screened, but it was determined that additional COVID-19 testing will not be necessary. Spectators will not be permitted to attend, but when possible, we will live stream the events.