After revisiting its plans, the Seymour Area Youth Football League board of directors has announced the cancellation of the 2020 season.
In an email sent to registered players and posted on the league’s Facebook page Tuesday, the board made that decision on a majority vote.
The board, however, said this is not intended to be a full league activity cancellation at this time.
Board members said they need more time to regroup and determine what is possible for their small group of volunteers to accomplish safely with minimal risk to athletes, their families and those who assist the league with their time, talents and other resources.
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They didn’t have enough time to complete all of that work and be in full compliance before the player combine, which was scheduled for today.
"Make no mistake — we want the kids to play football and cheer," the board said in the email and post. "We have a roadblock, but we are doing our best to understand where there is a path forward. We simply need more time to get the finalized and approved plan from the health department and SCSC to better understand the gaps and how we can close them."
The board said it worked all summer making plans, revising plans and making the decision almost weekly to continue, cancel or suspend the season.
Last week, the league announced it must comply with Seymour Community School Corp. guidelines and procedures for the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the league’s players are students in that school district and are most affected by risk and any negative impacts, the board said.
On Monday, the board met to discuss the ability of the league to contact trace athletes in the event it was required by SCSC or the Jackson County Health Department.
"The consequence, as we understand it, is that any student that is contact traced to a COVID-19 positive diagnosed person is quarantined from school for a period of two weeks," the board said. "This new reality and its local effects already felt at SHS required us to revisit our plan."
Considering the volunteers needed to meet the additional requirements, it was decided that SAYFL did not have enough volunteers on the roster needed to do the work.
"Additionally, we could not absorb the responsibility and high risk to the entire community due to the number of schools and counties represented this season," the board said.
"We know that you may have made the time and financial commitment for your child to participate already, and in doing so, have accepted the risks associated with their participation. We accepted those risks, as well," the board said in the email. "However, we have a moral obligation to ensure that the risks that we accept do not negatively impact those families that did not consent to the risk but are exposed to risk by our actions."
The league will continue to work alongside SCSC, the Seymour High School athletic department and the county health department to determine if it can create a path forward.
"We expect to do this work over the next two weeks and will regularly update you as we progress," the board said. "Please hang in there with us if you are able and we will have our full path forward, and with faith and luck on our side, we will have some youth football in 2020."
The board members said COVID-19 has taken enough from everyone, and they share in the disappointment and frustration of parents and students.
"We knew this season was going to require us to be fluid and agile," the board said. "Thank you for your confidence. We will be transparent and frequent with our updates."