The Walton Central School is scheduled to return to sports starting Monday, February 8. The winter season will run through March 6, and will be for girls and boys basketball.
Wrestling will not be on the schedule this year.
The WCS Board of Education approved high-risk sports for the winter during its February 2 meeting, based on the ability for the district to meet requirements and parameters from the Department of Health, Section Four, and Midstate Athletic Conference.
Walton’s schedules for basketball will be based on Delaware County DOH recommendations, which include playing schools within the county, as well as within 30 minutes. The county’s seven-day positivity rate also needs to be below four percent. As of February 5, the rate is 2.9 percent.
Games will be livestreamed as in the past, and available on Walton’s YouTube channel.
“We are doing everything we can to make sure we have a safe environment for our students to play,” Walton Athletic Director Justin Preston said. “Whether it be through the upcoming winter season, or our intramural program, this is necessary for us to provide for students’ physical, mental, and social well-being.”
Practices at Walton will start February 8. Schedules are currently being created, working within the parameters from DOH. The sport requires six practices before games can begin.
During its meeting on Thursday, February 4, the Midstate Athletic Conference voted to not allow spectators this year. However, each school can offer a senior night for each sport, and allow seniors (for the home team) to have two guests for the varsity game only.
Basketball nights will feature JV and varsity games. Athletes will arrive at opposing schools already dressed and ready to play. Once the schedule is finished, it will be available on the district’s website, as well as on social media.
During the MAC meeting, the league voted to not have wrestling for this year.
Walton holding a season independently wouldn’t be feasible based on the recommendations by the DOH. No other schools in the county or within 30 minutes are currently approved by their BOEs to hold a wrestling season, and at that there is only one potential school within those parameters considering having wrestling. Wrestling also requires 10 practices before being able to have matches, which makes the season even shorter.
“We had to look at the health and safety of our students, especially with as much individual student contact in a wrestling match,” Walton Superintendent Dr. Michael MacDonald said. “The other key factor is the MAC league not having a schedule. With not having multiple schools within 30 minutes, there’s no competition within the current constraints.”
Walton is working on a plan for a senior recognition night for wrestling. Information will be forthcoming once details are planned.
Sports permission packets have been uploaded to Google classrooms and must be filled out before students can participate. The packets can also be picked up at the health office, main high school notice, or student services office.
The MAC is not having an organized modified season. Walton will continue its intramural and conditioning program, which is open to sixth graders and above. The new schedule can be viewed at: https://www.waltoncsd.org/Downloads/WCS_intramural-sched-Feb8-262.pdf.
“We continue to strive to give every opportunity we can for our students, while maintaining safety during the Covid pandemic,” MacDonald said. “Timelines and guidelines make decisions about competition difficult, but we are thankful to be able to offer opportunities to our students and give them a sense of normalcy.”