Pottsgrove follows Montco guidelines, allows most fall sports to play

All fall sports except football are allowed to play at Pottsgrove High School this upcoming season based on a decision made by the district’s School Board Tuesday night

The Pottsgrove School Board voted 5-4 to approve a plan for fall sports structured around guidance from the Montgomery County Office of Public Health released Tuesday.

With Montgomery County’s current COVID-19 positivity rate currently between 1 and 5 percent *(3.1 percent according to the most recent data provided by the DOH), Pottsgrove’s low and moderate-contact sports, which include tennis, golf, soccer, field hockey, cross country and volleyball, are allowed to compete in interscholastic competitions.

For the time being, Pottsgrove’s football team will only participate in drills and workouts that maintain social distancing.

Pottsgrove’s decision to follow Montgomery County’s guidelines does leave the status of fall sports fluid.

If Montgomery County’s COVID-19 positivity rate falls below 1 percent and weekly case incidence are less than 10 per 100,000, then higher-contact sports like football would be allowed to compete.

Inversely, if the county’s cases rise above 5 percent, only the low-contact sports, golf, tennis and cross country, would be allowed to compete with moderate-contact sports sticking to individual-level drills with distancing protocols in place.

The Pioneer Athletic Conference is set to begin official team conditioning and workouts on Sept. 7 and games on Sept. 25.

Fellow Pioneer Athletic Conference schools Pottstown, Norristown and Pope John Paul II have had their fall sports seasons cancelled/postponed. The Phoenixville School Board adopted a plan allowing golf, singles tennis and marching band to compete.

Tuesday night’s board meeting included discussion with the school’s physician, Dr. Wade Brosius, who recommended Pottsgrove opt out of sports this fall.

“Although there is less risk for non-contact sports, it’s not no risk,” Brosius said.

Pottsgrove parents and community members also made statements about their opinions on the issue — both for and against fall sports.

Among the major arguments for sports included the positive mental and physical health aspects, the voluntary status of sports and the PIAA’s decision last week to continue on with the fall sports season.

“We remain committed in the belief that the risk of participation in school sports is greatly outweighed by the essential health benefits and significant growth opportunities, and it should be left up to parents and guardians to decide whether to participate,” Pottsgrove resident and parent Jerry Thompson, whose child plays sports for the Falcons.

“Aligning with the PIAA and the fact that all these activities are voluntary, I am asking for the board to allow all fall extracurricular activities to happen as long as each individual family feels their student is safe to participate,” said Kristi Solis, whose child is a senior athlete at Pottsgrove. “Please don’t make that decision for us.”

Those opposed to playing sports this fall mentioned that the school had already decided on online-learning and the Governor’s recommendation to not play sports this fall.

“I will admit that I’m not sure what magical thing might happen in the spring that will make this a better environment,” Kristin Wallace said. “But hopefully once more is learned about the virus, it will allow for a more appropriate response and a response to keep our community safe.”

Voting yes on the Pottsgrove sports vote were President Robert Lindgren, Vice President Al Leach, Tina McIntyre, Jay Strunk and Charles Nippert. Voting no were Bill Parker, Jim Lapic, Patty Grimm and Ashley Custer.

*Montgomery County updates its data graph every Tuesday

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