Cooperstown Central School has canceled its fall sports season.
The announcement, made in a letter to district families Wednesday, Sept. 9, read: "Due to the realities of participation complicated and inhibited by COVID-19, the district has made the difficult decision to cancel the Fall 2020 athletics program and season. We have based our decision on guidance from the Centers for Disease Controls (CDC), The New York State and Otsego County Departments of Public Health (DOH), and information from our colleagues at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA)."
Football, soccer, cross-country and girls swimming will be impacted.
"Ultimately, the district’s decision will keep our students, their families, our coaches, and those with whom we compete against safer," the letter signed by Superintendent William Crankshaw said. "It is our hope that this decision, combined with other cohort and safety measures, will allow our students to return to school in person by October 5th."
Beyond the health and safety, a loss of state aid was a factor, the letter said.
"It was recently announced that New York State will withhold twenty percent (20%) of its aid to schools, equating to just over $1.2 million dollars for Cooperstown. Suspending the Fall athletic season until 2021, among other cost-cutting measures already initiated by the district, will help close the gap caused by this loss of aid."
"Suspending the fall athletic season until 2021" means no fall sports until fall of 2021, not a postponement until a March-April season planned by other area districts that have postponed the fall season. Playing fall sports during those months was also part of an earlier contingency plan put forth by NYSPHSAA, but Crankshaw told The Daily Star the district was not planning to play fall sports during the spring.
"Not at this time," Crankshaw said. "Things change on a daily basis, but right now we have canceled the fall sports season."
"We will make necessary changes as we continue to learn more, as we come to understand actual need, and as we strive to normalize school in abnormal circumstances," the letter continued. "The district fully recognizes the tremendous disappointment this decision will cause our students, but we ask for patience and understanding as we look forward to the time when our school welcomes back our strong extra-curricular programs, including athletics, in the tradition of success that we have come to celebrate. Stay well."