Albany High football season paused till at least October 1

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Football players at Albany High School are on pause from playing until they are fully vaccinated. Students who are waiting to play say they didn’t know of the requirement until August 20. The district made the requirement in order to protect families from the spread of COVID-19 as cases continue to rise in the Capital Region.

“I understand that we have to get vaccinated, but the time that they told us, I don’t think that was fair. Other people got a little longer and they had time to prepare,” says football player Ange Abayisenga.

The school district said they laid out this guidance on August 6. On that day, the district released an update saying they will continue to follow the county health department’s guidance on high-risk sports.

Another statement on August 20 reiterates the district’s alignment with county and state health departments, but specifically said that students in football, cheerleading, and volleyball are required to be vaccinated.

Most students said they did not have a problem receiving the vaccine, but said they were disappointed they didn’t know of the requirement until late August. Football player Shamere Walden is not in that group.

“I couldn’t get the vaccine,” said Walden. “My mom doesn’t want me to get the vaccine.”

He said his family is moving to Florida so he can still play football without being vaccinated. “They heard the news leak, and they didn’t know I had to get the vaccine until I told them,” Walden said.

Students who aren’t fully vaccinated can practice with the team in non-contact drills. The school district expects enough players to be fully vaccinated to play in their October 1 game. The team will be halfway through their season.

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