South Hadley High School given unanimous OK to offer winter sports

Staff Writer
Published: 12/14/2020 10:05:47 PM

The South Hadley School Committee unanimously approved winter sports Monday.

The members voted for boys and girls basketball, ice hockey and swimming in three separate 5-0 votes.

“I want this to happen in the worst way,” School Committee Chairman Kyle Belanger said. “We saw beautiful success in the fall, but this feels fundamentally different than it did three and a half months ago. I want this to work.”

As part of the vote, the committee allowed the cooperative agreements with Granby to continue in the ice hockey and swimming programs. There will be no spectators allowed. Athletic Director Eric Castonguay said he would find a way to stream the basketball games and make hockey games viewable whether they’re streamed or the video is uploaded at a later time.

The programs will shut down if the COVID-19 positivity rate in South Hadley (or Granby for the co-ops) climbs above 3 percent after the start of tryouts Jan. 11.

“If we don’t have our student athletes and their families taking this seriously it’s going to end as quickly as it starts,” committee member Christine Phillips said.

The committee discussed including following public safety guidelines like wearing masks and avoiding travel as part of eligibility to play, like grades or following the honor code.

Getting the programs up and running is going to take more money. Castonguay and Guidance Director and Adjustment Counselor Elizabeth Wood said they would need to find $16,716 not previously budgeted. Most of that would go toward additional custodial staff or shifts to keep up with the cleaning necessary under state and MIAA guidelines. It also encompasses filling and maintaining the pool at Michael E. Smith Middle School.

South Hadley also needs to replace the scoreboard in its gym since it doesn’t work anymore, Castonguay said. That will cost additional $16,400.

Castonguay said they could pull $4,000 from the contracted surfaces line in the budget, as well as money from the uniform line. The committee could also move money from middle school field trips to Washington, D.C., that didn’t happen in the fall or an unlikely one in the spring to Cape Cod. Currently there’s $20,000 budgeted for those trips, $10,000 each.

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