With Chautauqua County listed as a high-risk area for COVID-19 transmission on Monday, local high school football seasons could be at risk.
Dunkirk Schools Superintendent Mike Mansfield explained at an Education Council workshop on Monday that government guidelines – which he stressed are not mandates, at least not yet – suggest that football be canceled in high-risk transmission areas. Indeed, football is considered to be an activity with a high risk of transmission, as it involves close and sustained contact with other people.
Other high-risk activities include wrestling, lacrosse, dancing, and competitive cheerleading. Volleyball was on the high risk list a year ago, but Mansfield said it is now on the moderate risk list, which means it could still continue even though COVID transmission rates continue to increase.
When he made his presentation late Monday afternoon, Mansfield was apparently unaware that Chautauqua County had just entered a high transmission area. He made the presentation as if the county was still in a “Significant risk” zoned. He called the high-risk designation “the one not everyone wants to see.”
Mansfield began his presentation by stating, “I can always say that there are no warrants at this point. But I expect there will be more to come. He said the Erie County Department of Health had just imposed masks for everyone in schools, and added that Gov. Kathy Hochul had pledged she would do a world-wide mandate. ‘State for them after taking office on Tuesday.
The superintendent said meetings to discuss COVID plans with staff and health authorities were underway. He said he met with officials from the Chautauqua County Health Ministry on Friday, including department head Christine Schuyler.
State Governor Kathy Hochul said on Tuesday she would make masks mandatory for anyone entering public schools. “None of us want a repeat of last year’s horrors with COVID-19”, she said. “Therefore, we will take proactive steps to prevent this from happening. “
He expects to present to the board a document that he will send to parents, explaining the district’s COVID protocols, at the meeting on Monday, August 30. The first day of school is Tuesday, September 7.
“We will try to keep a distance of three feet as much as possible in our classrooms, but that will not always be the case. “ Mansfield said. The district currently plans to teach students in person, five days a week, with distance education only offered in special situations.