The high school football game between Amsterdam and Albany, scheduled for Friday, has been postponed after members of the Amsterdam team exhibited symptoms of COVID-19, the Greater Amsterdam School District announced Wednesday.
A release from the district reads, in part: “Greater Amsterdam School District administrators were notified today that a member of the Amsterdam High School football team is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Though the player has not tested positive, out of an abundance of caution all football games and practices are postponed until further notice by guidance from the county health department. That includes the Amsterdam Rams scheduled game this Friday, March 19 vs. Albany High School.”
Amsterdam athletic director Steven Nolan said Wednesday night that the move came about after two members of the program began to exhibit symptoms of the novel coronavirus.
“Nothing’s definite right now, but there’s two members of the team exhibiting symptoms,” Nolan said. “As a precautionary measure, I reached out to Albany’s athletic administrator and we postponed the game.”
Friday’s game was scheduled to be the opener of the “Fall II” football season. Football and several other “high” risk sports were postponed from their original fall timeslot. Approval for “high” risk sports was granted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in late January, pending approval from local health authorities.
Montgomery County authorized “high” risk sports competition in February, with all five high schools within the county competing in basketball during a shortened winter season. The county’s teams were restricted to playing against out-of-county competition until Feb. 25, when Montgomery County’s 7-day rolling average of positive coronavirus tests results dropped below 4.0%.
The football program has paused team activities while waiting for more information and further guidance from the Montgomery County Department of Health, Nolan said.
“When we spoke to the department of health, letting them know what was going on,” he said, “the precautionary measure was to have the team not practice until we find out more definitive answers on what’s going on.”
Friday’s game was set to be both the first game for new Amsterdam head coach John Homich and the first football game played on the newly-renovated turf field at Lynch Literacy Academy.
Nolan said the postponement is the first this school year to be brought on by issues relating to the coronavirus within the Amsterdam athletic program.
While the situation remains fluid, Nolan said the district was “hoping” the issue would clear up and allow Amsterdam to return to the field for its March 25 game at Troy.
Potentially rescheduling the postponed game within the confines of the seven-week Fall II football season is a difficult proposition.
“I wouldn’t say impossible, but yes, it would be difficult, probably, to move this game somewhere,” Nolan said. “If we wanted to scrimmage at some time later on, we may be able to do something like that.
“Right now, we’re just going to focus on the next few days, just to try to get everything back on track — and do it safely.”