The Granville Board of Education meeting on Monday provided an update on the status of both athletics and academics in the always-chaotic coronavirus-era.
“The Granville Central School District will not be participating in Adirondack League basketball or wrestling should they be allowed to proceed for the 2020-2021 season. This is due to a concern for student safety and in accordance with the medical advice we have received,” school superintendent Thomas McGurl said via email.
“Granville will participate in Adirondack League bowling under the following the restricted standards set by the Adirondack League.”
Board member Molly Celani and McGurl made it crystal clear these decisions are painful but necessary for the well-being of the community members.
“I would plead with our local newspaper to be sure that it’s publicized or written so that everyone understands that it is not the board’s wish that we say ‘no’ to things, we wish we could say ‘yes’, however, we all have a responsibility. And that responsibility is for the safety and the health of our students,” Celani said.
“This is the best of a bunch of bad decisions,” McGurl said. “I understand the desire to participate, but at this time participation in indoor physical activities of this nature goes against the medical advice we are working from. We are hopeful that for the delayed fall season and spring season we are able to return to competitive play.”
McGurl said moderate-level winter season sports (bowling) have been given the green light to start now. If the numbers stay consistent and New York state and the athletic sections deem it eligible to do so, high-level winter sports (wrestling and basketball) may begin practices on Nov. 30.
However, there is no guarantee games would occur despite the Nov. 30 start of practices. McGurl said if the district has to make a decision expected on Nov. 19, he will be voting that Granville does not participate in basketball or wrestling in the 2020-2021 winter season. This was a unanimous agreement amongst the board as well, even if the state and sections declare the high-level sports can have a winter season.
“I don’t think any of that’s going to happen,” McGurl said.
One of the biggest concerns brought up by the board and McGurl was if one activity like bowling is allowed, then that brings into question the possibility of non-athletic clubs and organizations being able to get together.
“The one thing I would ask you to consider when you’re thinking about this is If you open the window for bowling, I believe, from an equity standpoint, you need to open the window for clubs and activities,” McGurl said.
McGurl explained bowling events would not allow the mixing of schools or spectators. The schools facing each other would report their scores from their respective alleys virtually, as well as sanitizing the balls every “quarter.”
For grades 7-12, Homework Club, Senior High and Junior High Student Council and Jazz Band taking place in the gymnasium will be allowed under current guidelines and provisions.
“They are not as conducive to the remote model. Additional clubs may be added on a case by case basis, depending on need, impact to facility, and ability to safely manage students in the building,” McGurl said.
McGurl and athletic director Justin Nassivera are looking into the possibility of having an intramural basketball program to give the kids something to look forward to in terms of athletics and exercise.
“I have had a conversation with Justin (Nassivera),” McGurl said. “Our goal will be to have an internal intramural program for basketball. We will need to follow state health and safety guidelines as well as timelines once they are finalized. Our goal will be to create an open gym program for grades 7-12. Students will need to sign up and sign-ups on any given day will be limited to the number of students that the gym can hold in compliance with safety guidelines.
“This will be run by our intramural advisors to start. Currently, the intramurals operate on Tuesday and Thursday. If there is ample student interest, we would look to add additional intramural advisors for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
“This will only take place if NYS allows regular play (contact and passing), and will be conducted in accordance with NYS guidelines.”
There will be no indoor or outdoor track and field for the winter season because of the inability to find a venue, high school or college, to host events and the mixing with other schools would pose a major issue.
McGurl displayed a humble side at the meeting, stating his appreciation to the district’s students, faculty and staff for giving 100% effort in making the most out of this unwanted situation.
“I can’t state it enough how impressed I am with the teachers and the students adapting to the online, in-person, remote, at-home, in another classroom remote location scenario of what we are doing.
“I have not been in one single room where COVID requirements of masks, or fresh air or spacing are not being followed, and I mean that in all seriousness, I haven’t seen that one single time,” McGurl said. “The kids online are engaging with the teachers, the teachers are doing an amazing job of balancing all of that. I’ve got to be honest, which I probably shouldn’t do at this meeting right now in public, I’m not sure when I was teaching that I could’ve done that.”
McGurl said Granville’s Junior Senior High School will be adjusting the re-opening plans starting on Nov. 16, transitioning to five weeks each of in-person and virtual learning. The superintendent said this is to “increase the frequency that kids see their teachers.”
“Grades 9-10 will return to in-person. That will be on the same Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday rotation. They will be here the week of the Nov. 16 in-person and then remote the week of Nov. 23,” McGurl said. “The week of Nov. 23, grades 11-12 will be in-person on a Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday rotation. (Grades) 9-10 and 11-12 will continue to switch every week for the next 10 weeks.”
The feel-good moment of the meeting came when Giovanni Perillo, 19, was recognized for facing adversity throughout his life and staying determined to get a high school degree.
The “Renaissance man” who was working and living in an apartment on his own had seen his fiancé and still-born child undergo a horrific accident, yet is now on course to graduate in June through the guidance of principal Lisa Meade and Perillo’s perseverance.
“Because of his hard work, he’s going to graduate this June, and I’m going to be one of his biggest cheerers going crazy. Mr. McGurl is going to have to kick me off the stage!” Meade said proudly.
Any additional questions can be asked to McGurl on the district offices line at 518-642-1051.