Fall season definitely had ups, downs

MALONE — Section 10’s Fall I season lasted from Sept. 21 through Nov. 15, and during that time, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic heavily affected the 2020 high school soccer and cross country campaigns with postponements and cancellations.

St. Regis Falls had many games postponed in early October due to testing not coming back in time fast enough for the Department of Health.

This resulted in the school district playing as many as five games in one week without practices. The Saints ended up playing 30-minute halves in order to give student-athletes a break from the fatigue of tight turnarounds.

While St. Regis Falls may have had a brief hiccup with testing, the first school to have its season cancelled was Gouverneur. After a positive COVID-19 test came back from its middle school, Gouverneur switched to remote learning through Nov. 30.

The girls soccer team was then 5-0 and at the top of the Northern Athletic Conference Central Division, while the boys soccer team was 1-4.

It was reported on Oct. 28 that Harrisville would be the next school to have its sports seasons cut short.

Harrisville made the decision to adopt a remote learning model through Nov. 16 after a positive COVID-19 test. The boys soccer team finished 1-4, while the girls ended 2-4.

With two schools done for the season, there were growing concerns about finishing Fall I. In the penultimate week of the abbreviated season, Chateaugay reverted to remote learning upon COVID-19 exposure.

The girls soccer team held a commanding record of 9-1-1 with hopes to win out the Northern Athletic Conference East Division before the abrupt end of their season. Colton-Pierrepont has since surpassed the Bulldogs at 10-2.

Ogdensburg City School District Superintendent Kevin K. Kendall announced on Nov. 7 the district was notified of its second positive case of COVID-19. Ogdensburg Free Academy went full-remote the following Monday and will return to a hybrid model Nov. 30.

Chateaugay marked the first Franklin County school district to go remote, although the rest followed days later.

On Nov. 9, the Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES announced that all other Franklin County schools will go remote through Jan. 4. Franklin Academy, Salmon River, St. Regis Falls and Brushton-Moira had their final in-person classes on Nov. 10, and following a day off of school in observance of Veterans Day, students began remote models on Nov. 12.

The highest infection rate in Franklin County has been within the north end, while the first reported COVID-related death in the county was on Nov. 8 at Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone.

Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake, along with FEH BOCES’s Adirondack Educational Center, are all located in the southern region of Franklin County. According to the Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES press release, three schools are going remote Nov. 16 “as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread in the north end from reaching that area.”

Since the decision to make all Franklin County schools go remote, a second COVID-related death in the county was reported Nov. 11.

Massena Central High School and St. Lawrence Central Elementary School, Brasher Falls, reverted to remote learning after positive COVID-19 tests. Massena’s remote period will last through at least Nov. 20, marking the end of its Fall I campaign.

St. Lawrence Central School Superintendent Robert Stewart stated that Brasher Falls would stay remote through the end of the week.

Potsdam Superintendent Joann Chambers announced in a Facebook post on Nov. 13 – just two days before the end of Fall I – that the school would be shifting to remote learning until at least Nov. 30.

While Potsdam currently has no plan to continue remote learning after Nov. 30, Chambers said, “families should prepare for the possibility of a long-term closure. If this occurs, we will communicate any changes to the current plan with our community as soon as a decision is made.”

With no games remaining on its schedule after the switching to remote, Potsdam technically finished out the Fall I season.

The Section 10 cross country interdivisional and sectional meet was to be hosted at Franklin Academy on Nov. 14, and was cancelled when all of Franklin County went remote. Instead, a regular meet was held at Norwood-Norfolk, which played host to Canton, Potsdam and Clifton-Fine.

13 of the 23 schools that comprise the Northern Athletic Conference were able to finish out their Fall I seasons.

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