HIGH SCHOOLS: School Committees at Greenfield, Frontier continue winter sports debate

Published: 1/13/2021 9:35:21 PM
Modified: 1/13/2021 9:35:16 PM

Two area districts reaffirmed their intention to play winter high school sports Wednesday night, as the Greenfield School Committee and Frontier Regional School Committee discussed the impending season during virtual meetings.

In Greenfield, the athletic department has conducted virtual practices only this week. While the original winter start date chosen by the PVIAC was Monday, Greenfield Athletic Director Mike Kuchieski explained to the committee Wednesday night that his basketball and hockey teams have been meeting virtually for the first few days of practice.

Kuchieski said the plan is to gather for in-person practices next week, with hockey slated for its first practice on Jan. 18 and basketball to follow Jan. 19. Games have been moved back a week in the Franklin County bubble, with basketball tilts set for Jan. 26 and hockey on Jan. 30.

Kuchieski said the delay for in-person practices came after a discussion with the Greenfield Board of Health and GHS nurse Kelly Savitri.

After brief discussion, the school committee passed a motion to approve those dates for Greenfield practices and competitions, with games and events able to take place as long as state guidelines haven’t changed for athletic competition by the end of January. The motion passed unanimously, with Mayor Roxann Wedegartner the lone abstention.

“We’ve got to get these kids doing something,” Kuchieski told the committee.


The Deerfield Board of Health voted 3-0 Wednesday in support of the Frontier Regional School Committee’s motion to play winter sports, with the stipulation that the BOH will reconvene before games begin to see where COVID-19 numbers are in the area and whether it is deemed safe to have games with other schools or not.

The committee voted in December to move forward with winter sports. The girls basketball team is already practicing in person this week while the boys team has not yet taken the court. With this vote, practices are allowed to continue, but the decision to play games is not yet set in stone, according to the BOH.

“It’s hard to make decisions so far in advance when we have such changeable conditions,” Deerfield Board of Health member Carolyn Shores Ness said. “Deciding on the games, I’d like to push off. We need the opportunity to look at this before we move forward.”

The Deerfield Board of Health plans to meet again Jan. 22 to make a final decision on whether to support Frontier playing games.

Discussion on Wednesday was centered around the risk/reward factor of playing other teams, with School Committee member Melissa Hale asking if it’s worth the risk when the teams can get together, interact and exercise, but not travel to other towns to play games.

“I’m not sure I understand that there is such a significant benefit ratio to playing another community versus being able to play, even in an intramural fashion,” Hale said.

School Committee member Damien Fosnet made the argument that there is a significant difference between the two, citing his daughter who wasn’t able to play in games with the soccer team this fall. Fosnet felt there was a lack of interest, losing out on the focus and competition while only being able to practice.

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