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A COVID Conversation

Posted 8/31/20

It's hard to believe it has only been six months since this pandemic began in the United States. It has felt like an eternity. And many of us are beginning to get restless.

However, we must remain …

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A COVID Conversation

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It's hard to believe it has only been six months since this pandemic began in the United States. It has felt like an eternity. And many of us are beginning to get restless.

However, we must remain vigilant. We've been reporting on what appears to be a small uptick in coronavirus cases in Sullivan County during the past couple weeks. This comes after our county saw a period of less than five total cases and zero hospitalizations.

We must continue to wash our hands, wear masks and practice social distancing whenever possible. Also, if you feel even slightly sick, be smart. If you think it might be COVID, quarantine immediately and do not put the health of loved ones and coworkers at risk. Do not go to work or school until you've spoken to a medical professional or have been tested.

Failing to do so could have serious consequences.

This virus has not only killed 182,149 Americans as of August 30 but it has also caused serious damage to both the national and our local economies.

A second wave must be avoided. The loss of life and impact on our local businesses has already been too great.

Staying on the topic of COVID, we want to shift to some topics relating to our schools. The decisions local districts have had to make are not easy ones. Planning is a challenge during a pandemic. And while districts can try to make the best plan possible, in an instant, that plan can be thrown into a tailspin. School administrations deserve to be commended for doing their best to engage district parents and work to accommodate them in these incredibly difficult circumstances.

While districts have made the best academic plans they can given the obstacles caused by the pandemic, one question that has been left in limbo is whether or not high school sports will take place this fall.

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association came up with a few possible options last month. The first was a delayed start to the fall sports season, and the second option, if NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo still prohibited them from taking place, was having three 10-week sports seasons beginning in January 2021.

Last week, Governor Cuomo gave the green light for low-risk fall sports to begin later this month, if the conditions of the guidance given could be met. Now the NYSPHSAA, the various sports sections and districts across the state will have to determine the next move forward.

This topic has been a polarizing one. For example, last Wednesday, The New York State Council of School Superintendents sent a letter to the Governor asking him to reverse his decision and delay the start of high school sports until January 1, 2021.

Even a poll on our Instagram and Facebook page, which had a very small sample size, and asked whether fall high school sports should take place, ended in a 50/50 split.

Many intelligent minds are working hard to see if they can meet the state offered guidance. At the end of the day, beyond a love of sports and offering the best possible high school experience to the youth, the safety of everyone involved -- the athletes, coaches, trainers, officials, spectators, etc. -- is paramount.

If fall sports can happen safely, we will be happy to see them. But if meeting these requirements are not possible, then they shouldn't happen.

What's most important is saving lives and preventing the spread of this deadly disease.

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