Greetings Downstate coaches, athletes, and parents,

I hope this finds all of you safe and healthy during these unprecedented times. I know that everyone has been struggling with the difficulties of the new, and hopefully temporary, Shelter in Place order that has been forced upon on us by the deadly Corona Virus. It has impacted our lives in so many ways, from serious illness and even death, to lost jobs and businesses, to isolation from family, friends and loved ones, and many other countless ways. While it pales in comparison to some of the truly life changing events that many of you are dealing with, the Downstate directors, have been struggling with the impact of the interruption, and possibly the premature ending of our season.  It’s still too early to determine the final impact, but we want to update you on our thoughts and what we’re trying to do.

Our ultimate goal is to get back on the court as soon as we can safely do so.  We’re not sure if that will happen this season; but, we hold out hope that we will be able to offer some training during the coming months.  If we are able to safely do so, we will try to resume some, most or all team practices, even if we aren’t able to participate in any competitive tournaments. GEVA has cancelled the remainder of their tournaments for this season; but I know that some clubs are still interested in hosting events if play is able to resume before the end of June.

Here’s a quick breakdown of some options by team type:

For our National teams, the NorthEast Qualifier and the East Coast Championships have been rescheduled into June. If those events are held, we’ll plan on attending. USAV Nationals is still planned for the end of June through early July, in Dallas. We are hoping to be able to run limited practices beginning sometime in late May or early June.

For our Aspire teams, while there won’t be any more GEVA tournaments, we have been in communication with several clubs with facilities (Hofstra, Sportime, House of Sports, etc) and we may try to host some limited competition in late May or into June if it can safely be done. We’re still hoping that we’ll be able to resume some form of training prior to July.

For VolleyBees & VolleyStars, we still hope to resume sessions beginning in May or June.

For those that had registered for our Youth Rec League, at Somers.  Because the shutdown occurred the week before the league was to begin, we’ll be issuing full refunds to your original payment method, on TeamSnap. We have exciting plans to host Youth Rec Leagues at both the Downstate Athletic Center and the Somers Sports Arena, starting in September. Look for details on our website later this summer.

We know that the absolute earliest that we could return to the gym is May 15th, and we believe that is still an unlikely, though not impossible outcome. We are looking at various alternatives from small group sessions (no more than 10 people in the gym), to 4 teams of 12 plus coaches (no more than 50 people in the gym) training at one time. We are committing to resuming training in a safe manner and following all of the guidelines issued by the various governing bodies.

If we can’t train safely, then we won’t train at all.

To summarize the above, Downstate is very much in a state of flux as we wait to see the eventual outcome of the interruption in our season. We won’t rush into any “final” decisions – we’ll try to keep open the possibility of a [limited] resumption to team training for as long as possible.  If, and when, we know that can’t happen for this season, we’ll thoroughly analyze the financial impact. From a financial aspect, as I know many of you have sent inquiries regarding refunds, we’ll hold off on a final decision until we know how and when the season will end. In the worst case (if the season was completely finished in March), we’ll offer some form of refunds for the missed tournaments.  Please note that many of our expenses are committed, or already paid, including facility payments, commercial insurance, taxes and utilities, coaches salaries (which we are committed to paying fully), and training equipment and fees. Tournament entry fees, and the associated travel expenses for multi-day tournaments, are among the very few costs that we’re actually able to avoid if the season is terminated prematurely.  Once we know the final schedule for the season, Downstate will provide a more detailed analysis for everyone and we’ll probably offer options for how to deal with any possible refunds, such as direct payment, credit towards next season, or donation to a worthy cause such as the Westchester Community Foundations Westchester COVID-19 Response Fund.

Please be patient with us during this difficult time!  Most important, please stay home and stay safe!  Practice social distancing when you must leave your homes!  Pray for all of our first responders and front line personnel that are dealing with the virus day to day, as well as all of those that are still working every day in essential service areas to keep our communities functioning, as much as possible!

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