New policy fails to score with local fans

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The stands at Rome Free Academy Stadium were empty Monday night for the Black Knights’ 1-0 overtime field hockey win over New Hartford.

The district changed its policy on attendance, limiting it to 50 people at a venue. After counting players, coaches and officials there is little if any room for any more people.

“There has been a lot of confusion regionally about how many spectators are allowed because just like most things COVID, the documentation and guidance we have been receiving has conflicting details,” said district Superintendent Peter C. Blake by email today. “Superintendents were spoken to by the (Oneida County Department of Health) last week and told to make sure that we are complying with no more than 50 people at any contest. To date, schools were interpreting the (New York state) guidance of two spectators per athlete up to 50% capacity of the stadium as the guideline. The OCDOH’s requirement of 50 total people does not allow for two spectators per athlete because the athletes, coaches, and officials comprise most of the 50 total people. Unfortunately, due to this, we (along with other schools) cannot have spectators. Of course, everything is subject to change so we will see where this one goes.”

How other local school districts will handle the situation varies.

In Oriskany, “We are still letting media in to our home games only, but no practice access,” said Superintendent Kevin Jones today by email. “He said that media will be allowed to cover games as long as they have credentials and fill out a contact tracing form; masks and social distancing are required.

“I can’t speak for the league but as far as Camden goes, we are still trying to get clarification from the Oneida County (Department of Health) on what we can allow. We have received mixed messages,” said district athletic director Steve Komanecky today by email.

Clinton, Holland Patent and Vernon-Verona-Sherrill did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

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