County health officials delaying start of high-risk high school sports

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Albany County Department of Health Commissioner Elizabeth Whalen announced the county will not be moving forward with high-risk winter high school sports at this time.

“I know there are a lot of people that will be unhappy with this decision,” Whalen said.

Basketball, wrestling, ice hockey, volleyball cheerleading, football, and boys’ lacrosse will only get the green light when the weekly positivity rate drops below 4% in the county. Right now, Albany county is at 7%.

The commissioner said the decision was based on an abundance of caution for the student athletes, families, and schools.

“I am hopeful that our rates of positivity are decreasing,” Whalen said. “I am very hopeful that we are starting to enter a downward trend, but we cannot be reassured and the past has shown us this.”

Washington county also released a statement today delaying the approval of high-risk sports, citing the efforts to keep schools operating with as much in-person instruction as possible. They’re still working to identify a timeframe for the resumption of those sports.

Columbia and Greene Counties have joined Albany county in determining that the weekly positivity rate must be under 4% in order to begin high-risk high school sports. Columbia County is currently registering a positivity rate of 7.3%, while Greene county is at 6.9%.

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