ORR district sports to return for winter season

Dec 10, 2020

Winter sports will happen for Old Rochester Regional High School and Junior High students, as long as they and their families remain diligent about covid regulations. 

The ORR School Committee approved guidelines for winter sports as well as a shortened season in the early spring for fall sports, at a Dec. 9 meeting. 

The winter season will begin on Dec. 15 and end on Feb. 12. The shortened fall sports season begins on March 9. 

Guidelines include mask wearing for all athletes, limited use of locker rooms, and a one-hour period between games occurring in the same space. 

Boys ice hockey, basketball, and swimming and diving will all play South Coast Conference teams only. Girls ice hockey will play teams from Cape Cod, as they are the only team in the SCC. 

Track and field will not participate in the winter season, but will be included with cross country in the shortened fall sports season. 

ORR Athletic Director Bill Tilden said that the district wanted to include track and field, but there was nowhere for athletes to compete. 

“Just recently, our facility fell through,” he said. 

Hockey and basketball games will be in-person, but most swimming and diving meets will be conducted virtually. 

Eventually, games will be limited to two spectators per home team athlete. But the first few weeks of play will be conducted with empty bleachers. 

In addition, athletes from both teams at a competition will have to quarantine if they are exposed to covid during a game. 

“If you have a couple cases and you have to quarantine, you won’t have a team and you won’t be able to play,” committee member Jim Muse said. 

But for ORR Principal Michael Devoll, the caveats are all worth it if students get to enjoy the sports they love. 

“For some kids, the motivation to come to school — to achieve — is athletics,” he said. 

Though Devoll noted how fragile the season could be, as Muse pointed out. 

“I hope that the student body rises to the challenge to make good decisions outside of school,” Devoll said. 

Committee member Margaret McSweeny also noted the complications of a season during the pandemic, and asked whether it would be smart to conduct athletics as cases in the Tri-Town and across the state are on the rise. 

But when OR track athlete Peyton Lord addressed the committee, she said that athletes know what they’re risking when they’re reckless about covid regulations. 

“Some kids, that’s their shot of going to school, is sports,” she said. 

Devoll also noted that if sports go well, more activities will be able to begin operating with more normalcy. 

“I wanna see our clubs return, and our full student experience return,” he said. “This will open doors for other activities as well.”