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The New York State Department of Health announced last Friday that high-risk winter sports would be authorized to start practice and competition beginning February 1 if permitted by local health authorities. Rensselaer County has indicated support for this updated guidance publicly, but the East Greenbush Central School District has not yet received official written permission from the county health department to start these sports. Additionally, Albany, Saratoga and Schenectady counties which encompass other schools from Suburban Council, have not granted permission for those school districts to start high-risk winter sports.

Following the state’s announcement, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) released an updated Return to Interscholastic Athletics Resource document on Monday.

The updated state guidance means Columbia High School would be able to offer the following sports to student athletes, pending approval from the Rensselaer County Health Department:

  • Boys’ Basketball (Varsity and JV)
  • Girls’ Basketball (Varsity and JV)
  • Competitive Cheer (Varsity and JV)
  • Ice Hockey (Varsity)
  • Indoor Track (Varsity)
  • Wrestling (Varsity)

Boys’ and Girls’ Bowling, which is a low-risk winter sport, began in December.

While Indoor Track may be offered this winter, competitions would be held virtually or outdoors weather permitting because the facilities they compete in are not accessible due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Wrestling is under consideration but may be postponed until the Spring Sports season, which is tentatively scheduled to begin May 3, due to unique elements of the sport that are complicated by the current pandemic.

The Columbia Athletic Department, in coordination with other Suburban Council schools, has discussed starting winter sports, which includes preparing COVID-19 safety procedures, scheduling and a signup process. However, schools will need county approval before high-risk winter sports can begin.

Sign Up Information

Sign Up Information for student athletes will be sent out if/when winter sports are approved. The district will also schedule a Winter Sports Information Meeting for students and families at that time.

Impact on Fall Sports II and Spring Sports Schedules

Section 2 has adjusted the remaining high school sports schedule due to anticipation of high-risk winter sports starting.

  • Winter Sports (High-Risk)
    • February 1-March 13
    • Basketball, Competitive Cheer, Ice Hockey, Indoor Track, Wrestling (may be postponed to Spring Sports season)
  • Fall Sports II
    • March 7-May 1
    • Football, Volleyball
  • Spring Sports
    • May 3-June 25 (Baseball only begins April 28 due to 10 practice rule)
    • Lacrosse, Outdoor Track, Softball, Boys’ Tennis


Please contact the Athletic Office at (518) 207-2080 if you have any questions.