Basketball Season May Be “Bounced” due to Safety and Financial Concerns
The scholastic basketball schedules for Pocahontas County have tentatively been set with shortened seasons. At the January 26th Board of Education meeting, PCHS Athletic Director Kristy Tritapoe announced that as of now, the PCHS Girls’ basketball season is scheduled to tipoff with their first game on March 3rd with practice beginning on February 15th. The girl’s team will play 13 games, six of which would be home games.
Tritapoe said the boy’s team’s first game is scheduled for March 5th with their practices also starting on February 15th. The boys will play an 8-game season, including three home games.
The middle schools will also play abbreviated seasons with each having 4 or 5 home games.
She said total attendance at games is limited to 20% of gym capacity with an equal number of tickets made available to visiting spectators. For PCHS that would allow each player to have two tickets for their family, but because the gyms are smaller, less tickets would be available at the middle schools.
Tritapoe added that she has some major concerns about potential quarantines of students and administrators that could result from this indoor sport, and other concerns such as:
- The high cost of hiring security to work admissions, assuring each spectator has a ticket, has their temperature checked, and wears a mask.
- The extra work for the school janitors who will have to deep clean following the games.
- The buses cannot be used to transport the athletes to the games because of the required late-night deep cleaning of the busses by the drivers after school night games.
- Since there will be no school buses, parents will have to drive the athletes to the games and if they bring other siblings, they will have to wait outside during the game with them in the parking lot, and there are no restroom facilities outside.
- No one has yet been able to determine if middle school teams can play when COVID shuts down PCHS but the middle schools remain open.
The Principals from both middle schools, Julie Shifflet from Green Bank Elementary-Middle School and Nebraska Scotchie from Marlinton Middle School also shared these concerns.
Board President Sue Hollandsworth openly questioned whether it is worthwhile to even play these shortened seasons because of these concerns. Board Member Sam Gibson commented that to shut down basketball would cause members of the community, and I quote him, “to come at us with pitchforks.”
The Board punted this decision to their February 16th meeting to get an estimate of the cost of having security at the games and to get more direction from the WVSSCA about these concerns.
Mr. Beam, in his report said he will be inviting Tim Liptrap to a future board meeting to discuss possible adding a Junior ROTC program to PCHS.
He also said the next two regular board meetings will start at 5:30 pm with public meetings about next year’s school calendar, and that the March 30th board meeting will be a 3:00 p.m. LSIC meeting at Green Bank Elementary/Middle School while the May 11th meeting will be a 3:30 p.m. LSIC meeting at Hillsboro Elementary School.
He said they are trying to offer an optional 4 days-a-week, 4 hour per day summer education program in June to help students catch-up because of the lack of in classroom instruction this school year.
The board reviewed, but made no new changes to the school re-entry plan.
The board passed a number of personnel actions and then held an executive session on a personnel matter before adjourning the meeting.