On Thursday evening, September 24, 2020 the Canton Central School Board of Education approved the modified and junior varsity soccer and cross country teams for inter-scholastic participation in Section X. The special board meeting carefully and thoughtfully examined all aspects of the topic and agreed to move forward and join twenty-two other schools in St. Lawrence and Franklin Counties attempting to offer minimum risk sports this fall. Section X is one of only five sections statewide attempting to offer athletic opportunities to its’ athletes and we are all appreciative. Board President Mr. Victor Rycroft summed up the meeting well by stating, “From my perspective, I think all preparatory things that were done to get school going by the admin. team and everybody involved, it’s been very fluid and has been daily. With that in mind, we are mitigating the best we can. We are not going to eliminate. We don’t have that magic wand. I think everything that can be done at this point in time is being done. It has been discussed, and will continue to be discussed in collaboration with Ron (Superintendent Burke) and whoever gets involved, will evaluate and with any potential threat, shut it down.” As the title states, “We have one chance to get this right”. This can only happen if the community comes together to make it happen. I am confident we will.
Practices for Junior varsity athletes will begin this coming Monday, September 28 at 3:00 pm and will end at 5:00 pm behind the middle school. EVERY ATHLETE WILL NEED A MASK in order to practice. Those athletes that do not have a mask or face covering such as a neck gator will be provided one by the school. Athletes choosing not to wear a mask will be sent home. Student-athletes will also need to bring their own water bottle. Large Igloo coolers of water and team bottles will not be provided. Each athlete should have cleats, shin protection, shorts and a T-shirt as well for soccer and running sneakers or trainers for cross country.
Practices for the modified teams will be held from 5:30 pm and will end at 7:00 pm all next week (September 28-October 2). The following week (October 5-9) practice times will begin at 5:00 pm and end at 6:30 pm due to impending darkness. Game schedules are being developed at this time and should be available to the public in the coming days. Please refer to the “Game Schedules” tab at the athletic department website for specifics.
It has been agreed upon by all competing schools that spectators for home and away contests will be limited to 2 people per athlete. It is critical that we adhere to this number. Coaches will need to provide a list to the opposing school’s site administrator at away games indicating those approved spectators attending from Canton. We will also need a similar list for home contests. The main intention of this list is for contact tracing purposes if a potential COVID exposure has occurred. Spectators are required to wear masks while on school grounds throughout the contest and are expected to socially distance themselves from others. Continued participation by our school district in Section X is at stake if we do not comply. Spectators in vehicles may view the game or meet without masks as long as they remain in their vehicle. Should a person need to use a restroom they would need to wear a mask and are expected to return to their vehicle when finished. Restrooms are available, however building use is restricted beyond that purpose or perhaps an emergency such as lightning.
Athletes will be required to wear masks throughout practices and games. Mask breaks will be issued during the course of each contest/activity. Athletes failing to wear their mask to the point of receiving a warning from an official will receive a yellow card if it happens second time. Coaches will also remove this individual from the remainder of the game. Roster sizes have been limited to 20 per team for home or away events. Coaches will communicate the details with regards to extra players in accordance with their management style and philosophy. Team benches areas will be prepared to adequately socially distance team members not in play. Tents and shelters encouraging the huddling together of athletes will also not be allowed.
Athletes will have their own seat on school buses and will be required to wear their mask. Players have been encouraged to ride home with a parent or guardian to the extent possible and teams will no longer stop at a restaurant following contests. Coaches will review their specific methods for “sign-outs” with their teams. The format which they use will not encourage people to congregate near the bus following a game or meet.
Being a fluid situation additional items and information will be shared as they become available. I would again urge everyone to consider what is at stake if we fail to follow the guidelines. Our varsity athletes are currently setting an unbelievably positive example and I am proud of them for this. The simple fact is, they want to be together and share all of the fantastic results of training, practicing and competing. I look forward to many great memories which will be created this fall! We will get this right!