District awaits Orange County Department of Health decision on the start of ‘higher risk’ sports

On Jan. 22, Gov. Cuomo and the New York State Department of Health (DOH) approved the start of higher risk sports and recreational activities to begin on Feb. 1, but delegated the final decision for play to begin with local county health departments.

Guidance from Gov. Cuomo’s office states that high-risk sports may begin practice and play on Feb. 1 “only as permitted by the respective local health authorities (i.e., county health departments).”

Additionally, state officials said local health departments should consider the following factors when making their determination:

  • Whether there has been a more-transmissible variant of COVID-19 identified in the area
  • Local rates of COVID-19 transmission or rate of positivity
  • Local ability to monitor and enforce compliance

To follow up on that announcement, the Section IX Athletic Council met on Jan. 25, and sent a letter requesting approval to the county health departments in Orange, Ulster, Sullivan and Dutchess counties.

“We join our colleagues in neighboring counties in awaiting a response from our respective health departments,” said Athletic Director Tim Bult.  “We will share information as soon as we receive it.”

At Minisink Valley, sports awaiting Orange County DOH approval are boys and girls basketball, wrestling and competition cheer.

As the district awaits a final decision, Minisink Valley’s swim and indoor track will continue to hold practices. Basketball, wrestling and cheerleading will continue their workouts following COVID-19 specific safety requirements.