Vaccine requirement for athletes playing high-risk sports

At its September 14, 2021 meeting, the Guilderland Central School District Board of Education passed a resolution to adopt the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines requiring student-athletes participating in all high-risk sports to be vaccinated. This decision was reached due to the high level of community transmission of COVID-19 in Albany County. For the current fall season, high-risk sports are football, volleyball and cheerleading. The resolution applies to students who are 16 years of age or older. 

All football, volleyball and cheer athletes who are 16 years or older must receive their first shot on or before October 1, 2021, to continue to participate. Medical exemptions can be sought by having a New York State licensed physician complete the New York State Department of Health form. Unvaccinated athletes in high risk sports who are not yet 16 years of age are required to participate in weekly COVID-19 screening testing to be able to continue to participate in their sports program. Parental consent is required for student-athlete testing.

The board’s resolution also applies to athletes who are 16 years or older who wish to participate  in high risk winter and spring sports; these athletes will also need to be fully vaccinated by the first date of tryouts of their respective seasons. For planning purposes, the first day of winter sports tryouts is November 15. High-risk winter sports are wrestling, basketball, competitive cheer and ice hockey.  

According to the CDC guidelines and the Health and Safety Guide issued by the New York State Department of Education, high-risk sports and extracurricular activities should be virtual or canceled in areas of high community transmission unless all participants are fully vaccinated. GCSD is committed to providing a full array of extracurricular activities for its students. Currently the district is in a high transmission area for COVID-19. As long as the district remains in a high transmission area, eligible athletes participating in high-risk sports will continue to be required to be vaccinated.

It is important to note that this Board of Education resolution is subject to change depending on factors such as a change to the Albany County transmission rate, the FDA lowering the approved age to receive COVID-19 vaccines and/or the CDC changing its guidelines. The district will update families if changes are made to this resolution.

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