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DUTCHESS COUNTY HIGH SCHOOLS POSTPONE SPRING SPORTS UNTIL APRIL 30

Teams Can Practice, But No Games All Month Due To Coronavirus

By Rich Thomaselli
HVSR Staff

In another tough blow to student-athletes across the area, all Dutchess County high schools have postponed spring sports through April 30, Hudson Valley Sports Report has learned.

The news came just one day after the New York State Public High School Athletic Association canceled state championship play in ice hockey, bowling, boys basketball and girls basketball, despite the fact that the tournaments in hockey and basketball were already underway. The state cited the growing spread of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

The decision to postpone spring sports until April 30 was made in agreement by the superintendent of each Dutchess County school district, said Arlington Central School District Supt. Dr. Brendan Lyons, who sent a detailed, three-page letter home to parents and guardians outlining Arlington’s response to the coronavirus.

“In support of efforts towards community containment of the COVID-19 virus, and based on the recommendation of the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health, effective Friday, March 13, 2020, we are cancelling or postponing the following activities and events through Thursday, April 30, 2020,” the letter read.

It then ticked off a series of activities ranging from adult and continuing education classes to school trips to athletic contests.

“We will re-evaluate this determination based on continued information and guidance from the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health and other federal, state and local agencies,” the letter concluded.

Teams and players will be allowed to practice, but not allowed to participate in games. But the month-long hiatus has many coaches worried.

“The writing is on the wall. You’ll end up seeing the whole season cancelled,” said one Dutchess County high school baseball coach. “I mean, I don’t want to alarm my players but people above us haven’t even discussed with us yet the parameters of what happens if we do start playing on May 1.”

That includes questions like how many games will each team play? How does league play shake out? How will teams qualify for sectionals?

Not even Section 9 executive director Greg Ransom had the answer.

“To my knowledge, as of this point, schools in Ulster, Orange and Sullivan counties have not postponed spring sports, so mostly this affects the Mid-Hudson Athletic League,” Ransom said. “So right now, I can’t give you an answer as to what will happen if half my league is not playing. Once we know for sure, the section is going to have to sit down and figure it out.”

The MHAL has 17 member schools, including Roosevelt, Red Hook, Rhinebeck, Spackenkill, Millbrook, Dover, Pine Plains and Webutuck from Dutchess County.

Section 1 chairman Todd Santabarbara did not return a call for comment by the time of publication.

“In terms of makeups and other logistical questions, that will have to be a larger conversation for Section 1 and 9,” Lyons told HVSR. “I have no definitive answers on that.”

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