No fans, media allowed at Ballston Spa virtual swim meet

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Categories: -The Daily Gazette, High School Sports, Sports

Ballston Spa High School conducted its part of a virtual girls’ swimming and diving meet Wednesday at its home pool with no spectators, including members of the media, in attendance.

“As part of the District’s efforts to minimize the spread of the virus, at this time no visitors or spectators are allowed at our meets,” Ballston Spa athletic director Dave Sunkes wrote in an email to The Daily Gazette Wednesday morning.

When contacted later Wednesday, Sunkes added, “We are trying to limit exposure as much as possible.”

Section II swimming and diving coordinator Kim Murray announced last month that no spectators are allowed at the indoor aquatic competitions this fall in an effort to reduce the possible spread of the coronavirus.

The Daily Gazette reached out to the Ballston Spa athletic department Tuesday in regards to covering the Scotties’ virtual meet against Bethlehem. Bethlehem is scheduled to conduct its part of the meet Thursday at its home pool.

“The focus right now needs to be on risk minimization of student-athletes,” said New York State Public High School Athletic Association Executive Director Robert Zayas, when asked for his thoughts on schools not permitting media to attend athletic functions.

Each school district in Section II can determine what it wants to do and how it wants to proceed concerning athletic competitions and activities.

Ballston Spa, along with Bethlehem, are the only Suburban Council schools that opted not to field soccer teams this fall.

According to Ballston Spa spokesman Stuart Williams, “Due to the current health and safety precautions throughout our facilities, the public is not allowed in the school buildings for activities, including athletic events.  Student activities are being held virtually and all other after school/evening activities are being cancelled or postponed. We have had a policy of no visitors to our schools with the exception of those who have an appointment since the development of our initial re-opening plan. Further, our reopening plan for athletics has a no visitors/spectators policy included in it.”

Swimming and diving is the only indoor sports competition being conducted in Section II this fall, and only a handful of Suburban Council teams are involved. All Section II volleyball competition was moved to the “Fall II” season that is scheduled to start March 1.

“Everyone is reducing the contact of people in venues,” Zayas said. “You’re seeing it in pro sports, college sports. They’re reducing non-essential people.”

Along with no spectators at Section II swimming and diving meets, those participating are being asked to follow social distance protocols.

According to the NYSPHSAA’s “Return To Interscholastic Athletics” swimming and diving guidelines: “Occupancy of the premise and pool should be limited to the number of individuals and groups who can be safely and appropriate spaced such that each individual and group is at least six feet away from others.”

Zayas said Livingston County schools (Section V Finger Lakes region) are also prohibiting spectators from attending their swimming and diving meets this fall.

Ballston Spa has outdoor fall sports teams competing in girls’ tennis, golf and cross country

“Outside we are following DOH protocols,” Sunkes said. “Two spectators per athlete. We are asking every spectator to sign in for contact tracing.”

Reach Jim Schiltz at [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

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