COUDERSPORT — If the Coudersport Area School District is closed due to COVID-19, students in extracurriculars may participate in playoff-like scenarios as long as COVID-19 has not impacted any of those particular students, the school board voted during Monday’s meeting.
Previously, the board voted to not allow sporting events to take place in the event the district moved to remote learning due to COVID-19.
Board member Jennifer Chambers made the motion to allow teams and clubs not impacted by COVID-19 to compete in play-off scenarios during such a time if the district is in remote learning due to COVID-19; board member Kevin Gledhill seconded it. The motion passed 8-1, with board members Gledhill, Chambers, Russ Streich, Jenna Gurney, Carol Carts, Connie Kallerson, Micki Brown and Carol Empson voting yes, and board member Sharon Deutschlander voting no.
But the vote didn’t come without a lengthy discussion.
Deutschlander said she wanted things to be fair for all students across the board.
“I just think as a board, we need to be fair,” Deutschlander said. “I don’t like making exceptions for certain groups. If we say the school is shut down, the school is shut down and we’re not doing anything. I know it was a big issue last year with the track team, I just think we need to be fair and not just pick and choose.”
Brown and Carts had similar thoughts. Brown said a lot has become clearer on how the district wants to proceed on some things during the COVID-19 pandemic, and suggested the board revisit some things in the future. Carts said students are in school for education and if the school is shut down, everything should be.
If any student is found, through contact tracing, to be impacted by a COVID-19 case and is on the team or club in the playoff-scenario, the team/club would not compete.
The board also voted unanimously to allow CASD teams to play against teams that are unmasked during playoffs.
Drew Kyle, superintendent, said while Coudersport student athletes will be masked during competition, CASD may face an opponent who has a player with a “mask-exemption.”
Previously, the board voted to only allow CASD teams to play against masked teams within the “IU9 bubble.”
Screenings for COVID-19 symptoms will still take place prior to both teams leaving for any games, as has been done during the regular season.
In other business, the board decided to incorporate “committee of the whole’’ meetings into its meeting schedule. Previously, the board typically met once a month for a business/voting meeting and held work sessions as needed. Sprinkled in between were committee meetings, for topics such as athletics, negotiations, curriculum, buildings and grounds, transportation, etc. A lot of these committee meetings are canceled due to lack of discussion points.
“This is not odd for a district of our size,” Kyle said. The athletic and curriculum committees are the two committees that meet regularly.
The board could keep those committee meetings the same, with three board members, plus Board President Streich, as the members. Other board members could attend those meetings, Kyle said, but could not participate in the discussion or ask questions until the following board meeting.
By agreeing to move forward with “committee of the whole” meetings, all board members can attend and participate in the discussion. This way, everyone gets the same information at the same time.