PVRSD approves fall sports 

  • Pioneer Valley Regional School. Staff File Photo/Shelby Ashline

Staff Writer
Published: 9/4/2020 5:57:14 PM
Modified: 9/4/2020 5:57:01 PM

NORTHFIELD — The Pioneer Valley Regional School District Committee Thursday approved participation in the fall athletics season for certain sports, with some teams taking part in a “floating season” later in the year.

Speaking to the school committee Thursday night, Athletic Director Ernest Abramian said the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association had announced fall sports are allowed to take place, with the option of having a “floating season.” 

“What that means, basically, is we’re breaking fall sports into two sections,” Abramian said.

The first section would see cross country and field hockey seasons begin Sept. 18 and go through Nov. 20. Abramian said soccer and volleyball would take part in the second fall, or the “floating season” starting Feb. 22 and going through April 25.

Abramian said they met with other schools in the county, and athletic directors decided it would be best to compete amongst the eight or nine schools within the county, and not against teams or schools from other parts of the state. He said they are currently working on scheduling for the athletics seasons, but expected they would have about eight or nine games for a limited field hockey season and three or four cross country meets.

“We’re only going to be competing with varsity school teams,” Abramian said.

Junior varsity teams, and middle school sports teams, will not be competing against other schools. However, Abramian said they are still encouraging students to sign up for sports teams, as they will have practices and hold exhibition games within the teams.

In order for a student to participate in the fall sports seasons, Abramian said they will need to have in person physical exams, as opposed to a virtual health exam. He also said students and coaches will be required to wear masks during athletic games and practices.

School Committee member Mike Townsley asked about the mask policy for each sport, specifically for cross country. He said the district could see more students than normal sign up for the cross country team and other approved teams, because there are limited options for other sports this fall.

“Once this gets approved, we just need to get some clarification out there so parents and students understand what the requirements are per sports and the mask, and when they don’t need to have them,” Townsley said. “Because I don’t see somebody running a 2.9 mile course through the woods with a mask on. They’ll be wearing it around their neck by the time they get to the finish line.”

School District Nurse Carla Simpson said cross county may see students compete by racing in staggered starts and comparing their times against other runners. This could avoid crowding on the courses and possibly allow athletes to run without wearing a mask. Abramian said he would gather more specific regulations for mask policies and provide clarification based on each sport. 

“We know that no matter how hard we try, sports are going to look different this year,” Abramian said.

The best thing the district can do, he said, is to follow the guidelines closely and make sure students have some kind of physical activity.

“We agree that it is a big part of their growth, and a big part of their life so we definitely need to have sports,” Abramian said. 

The School Committee unanimously approved the motion for adjusted fall sports, with member Kristen Gonzalez abstaining because her husband is a fall athletics coach. Committee member Jim Bell was allowed to vote, because he is a spring athletics coach for the track and field team.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.

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