By Mike Zummo
Students and interscholastic sports both returned to the Pine Bush Central School District on Jan. 19 for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.
Now that all levels of sports are authorized – high risk sports were authorized on Friday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo contingent on approval from local Health Depts. – Pine Bush schools are easing their way back into interscholastic athletics.
The winter sports season – when winter sports were scheduled to begin on Nov. 30 - was limited to only varsity boys’ swimming and all JV and modified sports were eliminated due to the winter season. In the upcoming March/April season, Pine Bush Athletic Director Michael Gillespie said the district is planning to transition to varsity and JV sports.
Gillespie said on Friday that modified sports are not canceled for the spring.
“Our hope is that we will be able to offer that,” Gillespie said.
The district pulled out of the winter track season in November as at that time, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point was unable to host the meets as it has done every year. Winter track meets will take place outdoors, starting Saturday, on the tracks at various school districts.
During the winter season – which began this week – and will run through February, the swim team will only compete at home as all swim meets will be competed virtually at their home pools.
The district also limited access to the Athletic Placement Process that allows seventh- and eighth graders to participate at the high school levels. Only students that completed the APP test in 2019-20 will be able to compete on high school teams in the winter.
The district plans to reintroduce junior varsity sports to the Fall 2 season, which is scheduled to begin on March 4. Pine Bush plans to offer boys’ and girls’ soccer, field hockey, girls’ tennis, and girls’ swimming. Then with the onset of the spring season beginning on April 19, Gillespie said the district hopes to reinstate modified sports as well.
“That’s the plan,” Gillespie said. “We have to see if everything works out. We may have to adjust things continue with this pandemic. If you have a situation that you have positives, that could affect it. But we hope to have everything up and running in the fall and spring seasons.”