Local school sports look to 2021 for return
SCHUYLER COUNTY--As most winter sports outside of swimming and bowling remain in a holding pattern, officials from Odessa-Montour Central School District and Watkins Glen Central School District are working on alternative plans to provide opportunities to students. Both Odessa and Watkins Glen have released information to the public outlining the current fate of boys and girls sports along with what alternatives will be made available should that be necessary.
"Right now we will have bowling and swimming because we have a swimming pool... (the state) pushed back high-risk sports like basketball and wrestling and I'll be honest with you, I don't know what that will look like or if we can get those up and running," said Odessa Superintendent Christopher Wood.
To help keep students active both physically and mentally Wood said Odessa is currently planning ways for students to stay active beyond the currently in place winter conditioning program.
"All other sports, like basketball, can do the winter conditioning program," Wood said. "But there are alternatives in the works if sports get pushed off again, perhaps intramurals so our kids (can still compete)."
Along with intramurals, there is also the possibility of expanding offerings for students in the winter to include badminton, table tennis and cross country skiing.
"We want to do something for our students' mental health, especially our seniors," Wood said.
With everything a balancing act between taking precautions against COVID and trying to preserve some semblance of a normal school experience, Wood added students' health is paramount.
"We are just trying to do what we think is right for our kids," Wood said.
The season for swimming and bowling are set to kick off for Odessa on Jan. 4 with approval for an eight-week season instead of the usual 14-week season.
Watkins Glen Athletic Director Rod Weeden has brought up the possibility that along with bowling and swimming, indoor track and field might also be able to begin soon.
"The current plan is to start low to moderate level sports at Watkins Glen, Jan. 4," Weeden wrote in a letter to the district. "These sports include boys and girls varsity bowling, modified and varsity swimming and diving, and potentially indoor track and field... In order to make sure we have athletes ready, we need to start our sign-ups now."
While Weeden encouraged students to sign up for the winter sport of their choice as soon as possible, he did note that state championships for every sport this winter have already been canceled by the state athletic association.
"Section IV has already announced the cancellation of Indoor Track and Field Championships because of the lack of facilities to hold the event," the memo said. "However, some programs may be allowed to practice and compete in dual meets or in a virtual setting," Weeden wrote to parents.
While there are already guidelines in place that would not allow spectators, Weeden said the district is working on an alternative including live streaming events.