TUPPER LAKE – Quarantines fill a gap in high school athletic programs this year.
The Tupper Lake football team is in the midst of a period where games are postponed or canceled due to COVID-19 exposures inside and outside the district.
Last week’s game against Weedsport was called off because the Lumberjacks were unable to field enough players.
“A large part of our football team was in quarantine”, Tupper Lake Central School District Russ Bartlett said.
He said a group of players were in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and had to self-isolate.
Tupper Lake has a smaller roster of football teams, which TLCSD athletic director Dan Brown says gives them less “flexibility” when there is a quarantine.
Football is a “high risk” sports for the transmission of the virus, according to the State Department of Health, as players are exposed and in close contact with each other.
All of the Tupper Lake squad came out of quarantine on Friday, Bartlett said, but the teams they are expected to play in the next few days have canceled or postponed their games for various reasons. Friday’s home game against the Thousand Islands Central School District was called off because the visiting team did not have enough players.
There are a variety of factors that can cancel or reschedule a match: Athletes quarantined on either team, or even bus drivers need to be quarantined. Sometimes they have days of notice, Brown said, sometimes hours.
He said TLCSD canceled all sports games and training for two days last week as the football team was quarantined.
Brown said that sometimes team morale is high because they feel united working through adversity. Sometimes morale is low as last minute changes and cancellations become frustrating.
Brown said tension was high as people dealt with sports stoppages. Each county handles quarantines differently, leading to some frustration, he said. Bartlett urged athletes and parents of athletes to be calm, kind, and reasonable.
The next TLCSD college football game on the schedule is Oct. 16 against the New York Mills Union Free School District at 1 p.m. ET.