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12 schools from Section III’s Frontier League bow out of fall high school sports

Syracuse.com logo Syracuse.com 9/16/2020 By Lindsay Kramer, syracuse.com
a group of men playing a game of football: Watertown's Gabe Horner has his legs kicked out vs. PSLA at Fowler in the Section III Class A boys soccer semifinals last season. Watertown's soccer team and other fall sports will not be competing this fall season. © Scott Schild | sschild@syracuse.com/Scott Schild | sschild@syracuse./syracuse.com/TNS Watertown's Gabe Horner has his legs kicked out vs. PSLA at Fowler in the Section III Class A boys soccer semifinals last season. Watertown's soccer team and other fall sports will not be competing this fall season.

Syracuse, N.Y. -- Superintendents from a dozen school districts in the Frontier League signed a letter on Wednesday confirming that their schools will not compete in fall sports because of the coronavirus.

Lyme, Alexandria Bay, LaFargeville, Belleville Henderson, Thousand Islands, Sackets Harbor, Sandy Creek, Watertown, South Jefferson, General Brown, Carthage and Indian River are the schools sitting out. It was unclear whether they will attempt to play fall sports at a later date.

“This decision was not made lightly, nor without serious thought as to the impact to our students and our schools. However, as Superintendents of Schools, our first and most important priority must always be to ensure that we are providing a safe, healthy, and secure environment for the education of our students,” the letter read.

Representatives from Copenhagen, South Lewis, Lowville, Immaculate Heart Central and Beaver River did not sign the letter and they will apparently try to play some fall sports. Lower-risk sports such as golf, tennis, swimming, gymnastics, soccer and field hockey are allowed to start practicing on Monday.

The superintendents of schools closing down sports said they understand that other schools may arrive with different conclusions about the feasibility of fall sports and that the issue is best viewed as unique to each district.

“That being said, as superintendents of the undersigned school districts, we do not believe that, at this time, we can move forward with a fall sports season, including interscholastic athletic competition,” the letter read. "We are unable to predict how recent positive cases in neighboring higher education institutions, or the appearance of positive cases in some school districts already for the start of this school year, may negatively impact our communities. Therefore, we cannot guarantee with a reasonable degree of certainty that every student and staff member who would otherwise participate in those activities would be safe from the spread or infection of COVID-19.

“When all factors are considered, we believe that the benefit of a limited fall sports season is outweighed by the substantial risk to our school districts' ability to maintain in-person student instruction in the event of a potential COVID exposure or outbreak.”

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Lindsay Kramer is a reporter for the Syracuse Post-Standard and Syracuse.com. Got a comment or idea for a story? He can be reached via email at LKramer@Syracuse.com.

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