The Herkimer Central School District Board of Education approved the start of the JV and varsity basketball seasons for boys and girls during a meeting on Feb. 23. The seasons will begin on March 1 if the metrics related to the COVID-19 testing positivity rate allow. District leaders expect Herkimer County Public Health to authorize the beginning of high-risk sports on Friday.
The board will also consider plans for Fall II high-risk sports (which include football, cheerleading, and girls volleyball) at its March 17 meeting.
There will be no spectators allowed for indoor sports, but the district will either stream events or publish a recording.
Earlier this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that schools may be allowed to offer high-risk sports if permitted to do so by local health authorities.
In unison with Public Health, the school districts in Herkimer County adopted a plan where the start of the season is contingent upon the county’s COVID-19 testing positivity rate. That means districts can schedule a season if the county’s positivity rate drops below 3 percent and remains there over a 14-day rolling average for 14 days. If a season begins and rate goes above 3.5 percent on a 14-day rolling average, sports would then be paused.
Superintendent Robert Miller said at this time, the county 14-day positivity rate is around 2 percent, and has been under 3 percent for about 10 days.
District leaders emphasized safety and providing as many opportunities for students as possible when they developed the plan.
“The administrative team is fully supportive of interscholastic athletics and wants to provide as many opportunities for our students as we can,” Miller said.
“We will work to make whatever sports and activities the board approves as safe as possible for our school community.”