Athletics update from Gail Cummings-Danson
Dear Skidmore Student-Athlete and Family,
As a follow-up to last week’s communication from President Marc Conner, I am writing to share additional updates specific to intercollegiate athletics. Thank you for your patience as we continue to work through the details required to reopen the campus and ensure we can have a safe return to practice and competition for our student-athletes. We continue to work in close step with New York state guidelines and modify our plans as updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New York state, Saratoga County Public Health Services and our national intercollegiate athletic organizations are provided.
The last communication outlined the fall semester reopening plan and the desire to have all, or almost all, students return to Skidmore for learning. This decision means all our student-athletes can return as part of the student body, thus allowing for athletic team participation. The decision to return to play is complex and requires the ability to test and complete contact tracing with confidence toward accurate outcomes. Although we continue to work through the details, we are confident that our final plan will allow for team practice and competition to occur safely.
I indicated in my earlier communication that meetings with the membership of our athletic conferences have been occurring on a weekly basis, and that continues to be the case. I am happy to share that the Liberty League Presidents Council has agreed on a plan for a return to athletics competition this fall. This decision creates the opportunity for winter and spring sports to be conducted similarly. It is expected that comparable decisions from the New England Hockey Conference and IHSA will be forthcoming for our ice hockey and riding programs. We are tremendously excited by this news and we will continue to work passionately to fully execute our plan so our student-athletes can have the best possible experience.
The success of our hopes and plans will be reliant on support from our entire Thoroughbred family. We have high expectations for all, and most importantly for our student-athletes. When we return to campus, we will all have tremendous responsibility to each other to comply with safe practices and protocols to help mitigate the risk of COVID-19. To that end, all student-athletes will be expected to sign and abide by a pledge committing to safe practices. I have included this now so you can see what student-athletes will need to sign at a later date.
More details about competition schedules will be shared shortly. At this time, we are planning for fall team student-athletes to return to campus on Aug. 17 so their return-to-play phasing process can begin. Winter and spring sport student-athletes will return per the timeline that is being worked on for all students. As a reminder, classes will begin on Aug. 24, which is earlier than usual for Skidmore. Competition for fall teams will begin no earlier than Sept. 26, after all protocols have been followed and teams are cleared for competition.
With the changing landscape, we will continue to adapt our protocols accordingly.
I will continue to provide updates as I have information to share, but please also
feel free to reach out to coaches directly with any specific questions you may have.
Again, thank you for your patience as we continue our work to provide the safest approach for athletics at Skidmore. We look forward to having the students back on campus.
Gail Cummings-Danson, Ed.D.
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs
Director of Athletics