High school sports officials in Suffolk County voted unanimously on Tuesday to cancel the spring sports season for 2020 at all levels.
While the ultimate question of whether children in New York State will return to school at all remains to be answered, officials from Section XI, the governing body of high school sports in Suffolk County, made their decision in “the best interest of the health and safety of all student-athletes, staffs and communities” affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The decision was not an easy one to make, however, in what the world is experience at this time, it is the most prudent decision to make,” Section XI said in a statement posted online on Tuesday.
Sag Harbor School District Athletic Director Eric Bramoff confirmed the news on Tuesday, and said he was busy getting in touch with all the student-athletes, and his seniors, in particular.
“I don’t really have a lot of words,” Bramoff said about the news. “I’m always thinking how to improve the overall experience for student athletes. But now we’re missing out on the entire experience. Morale is really low, but I’m telling all my seniors one simple thing: ‘Once a Whaler, always a Whaler.’”
Newsday on Tuesday reported that officials in Nassau County also decided to cancel the spring sports season.
“Even if there was a miracle, how are we expected to play sports and practice social distancing?” Nassau’s Section VIII Executive Director Pat Pizzarelli told Newsday. “It’s not possible. We need to protect our kids.”
New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has already extended stay-at-home policies through May 15, so schools will be closed through that date at the earliest.
“I go into work and it almost looks like time was frozen at school,” Bramoff said. “We were doing volleyball and the volleyball net is still up. It’s tough to go into work. Morale is really low.
“The wound is still very fresh, but now we’re really planning out how everything is going to look next year. We’re going to really appreciate this when we come back. I don’t think the small things will bother us as much anymore. We’ll just be happy to be playing.”