Out of COVID concerns, Monroe-Woodbury sports teams will not compete against other schools

Central Valley. Decision affects 23 teams at the middle and high school levels and more than 40 student athletes.

| 10 Feb 2021 | 01:18

Superintendent of Schools Elsie Rodriguez

The Monroe-Woodbury School Board was expected to pass a resolution on Wednesday, Feb. 10, regarding the winter sports season that would allow student-athletes and coaches to participate in high risk sports at both the middle school and high school levels, but they will not compete with other schools at this time.

High risk sports are basketball, cheerleading, ice hockey and wrestling.

In a letter posted on the district’s web site last week, Superintendent of Schools Elsie Rodriguez addressed students and parents of the decision:

“As you may be aware, Governor Cuomo and the NYS Department of Health recently approved the start of high risk winter sports as of February 1, leaving the final decision up to local school districts. I am writing to clarify the school district’s position regarding the commencement of high risk winter sports, which include basketball, cheerleading, ice hockey and wrestling.

“After careful consideration, district leaders, in agreement with the M-W Board of Education, have decided that Monroe-Woodbury’s student-athletes and coaches will be participating in high risk sports at both the middle school and high school levels, but will not compete with other schools at this time.

Here is why we believe this is the best decision for our students and coaches:

It is critical that we control the variables that put our students and staff at risk. Our first priority continues to be getting our students back to the school buildings as safely and quickly as possible.

We have great concerns about the safety and well-being of our student-athletes and coaches as they travel to and from competitions at other school districts. Furthermore, we are hesitant to invite students from other districts into our buildings when we cannot verify that their safety protocols meet our standards. One positive case could force the quarantine of hundreds of people. At a time when low risk sports such as bowling and swimming/diving are forced to conduct their competitions virtually, it is contradictory to support in-person competitions for high risk sports.

“One of the most important lessons we have learned as a result of this long-standing pandemic is that our students are craving physical activity and social interaction. Currently, 23 M-W athletic teams/400+ M-W students are participating in various athletic practices after school. Our students need this outlet, both for their physical well-being and social emotional health.

“We believe that providing healthy activities for the maximum number of students is more important than preparing for an abbreviated competition season, scheduled now through Feb. 28, which would require the district to swiftly conduct tryouts and make cuts.

“We look forward to the fall season when our athletes and coaches will have the opportunity to compete. In the meantime, we remain committed to supporting all of our students in the best way possible and we will share updated information as it becomes available.”


P. 17: Monroe-Woodbury defeats Kingston in a virtual swim and dive meet

P. 19: Girls varsity basketball and cheer team begin practice.