A Message from the Superintendent…
Dear LCS Stakeholders, September 16, 2020
I hope this letter finds you well and enjoying the start of the 2020-21 school year!
On August 24th, Governor Cuomo announced in a press conference that lower-risk, school sponsored sports in New York could begin practicing and playing events beginning September 21st, with the qualification that higher risk sports, though they could begin practicing, would not play events until after December 31st. Since that time, school districts all over New York have been struggling to understand, not only the rules and circumstances under which it would be safe to resume in-person instruction, but also when and how all extracurricular activities including interscholastic athletic events and competitions could and should resume. As Superintendent of Lyme, it is, of course, my responsibility to consider not only the benefits, but the potential dangers and potential hardships of resuming all such activities and events.
As you are aware the global pandemic has created an atmosphere of change and uncertainty for our school district, communities and homes. It seems that each day brings one challenge after another. As such, I am writing to share that as of early this afternoon, the Lyme Central School District, along with most, if not all, Jefferson County School Districts, has decided to pause the fall 2020 sport season. We will instead consider a plan of rescheduling the season, as possible, in the spring of 2021. This decision to play or pause has been a complex one for not only our district, but all districts across the state and clearly has compelled each district to contemplate individual situations and circumstances along with considering, feedback, recommendations and requirements from the Department of Health, the State Education Department, our school physician, local and state agencies and various other stakeholder groups. As expected there are many perspectives. To be clear, our District and region is not saying “no” to our fall sports, but is instead saying “not yet”.
I’m sure we can agree that we all want to see our students safely on the athletic field competing as soon as is practicable, just as we also want to see music concerts, drama productions, Grandparents and Veterans Day celebrations, and so on. We want all students physically in school every day, participating in traditional classes, extracurricular activities and social events. Unfortunately, we are not there, yet.
Based on current, imposed restrictions and requirements, including social distancing regulations 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, I believe that the benefit of a limited fall sports season is outweighed by the substantial risk to our school district’s ability to maintain in-person student instruction in the event of a potential COVID-19 exposure or outbreak.
Please know that we at LCS greatly appreciate the support and understanding shown by our families and community as we continue to consider all information and strive to make decisionsthat are best for our students. We look forward to the opportunity of returning our District, when it is safe and appropriate to do so, to participating in interscholastic activities and extracurricular events, both athletic and academic, at some point a bit later in this school year. We will continue to make thoughtful, informed decisions regarding the evaluation of the circumstances. It remains our privilege to serve you, our students, families and community! Be well and stay safe.
Cammy J. Morrison