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Sweet Home votes in favor of low, moderate-risk sports

On September 26 student-athletes on low-risk sports teams can begin practice. Moderate-risk sports teams start practice starting September 28.

AMHERST, N.Y. — The Sweet Home Central School District has officially voted in favor of allowing low and moderate-risk sports teams to resume practice. 

The district held a socially distanced open-meeting in the high school auditorium Monday night. Student-athletes, coaches and parents took to the microphone to share their thoughts and feelings on athletes getting back to practice.

It has been a long time since student-athletes have played organized sports with their schools. Megan Gerber is a Sweet Home student and just started her junior year, she's also a captain on the women's soccer team. 

"Sports shape us to be better people, it's not just about now, it's about your life skills and your life lessons," Gerber says.

Along with her father, Megan Gerber was hoping that the school board would make the right decision, and in their eyes, Monday's ruling is proof that they did.

"It's been really hard for a lot of us," she said. "I know some of my teammates and friends have been having a really tough time, we just want to play. It's hard watching people you know in other districts playing when you can't."

On September 11, the New York State Public High School Athletics Association released guidelines for districts to follow so students could safely start playing again.

Per the guidelines, low and moderate-risk sports like tennis, soccer, cross country, field and swimming are among those that students can begin practicing. High-risk sports like football, wrestling, rugby, hockey and volleyball still require clearance from the state. 

Monday's vote was not without controversy. Despite the ruling, there's still concern on the board on whether this decision is in fact the right one. Nadine Ocasio, voted against letting students begin practice.  

"This has nothing to do with athletics," Ocasio said. "It has everything to do with the guidance and the governor making decisions and putting districts and regions into incredibly difficult situations."

Yet, majority rules. According to the district, practice for low-risk sports begins on September 26. Moderate-risk sports can begin practicing on September 28. 

Clarence School District also delayed its fall sports season. The district, however, is expected to continue discussions on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Buffalo Public School District has cancelled its fall sports season.