From the beginning of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York and the Mid-Hudson Valley, area schools and their young students have been some of those most negatively impacted by the difficult decisions local and state officials have had to make. Over the last few weeks, as regulations begin to relax and local businesses look forward to reopening per state guidelines, area youth have begun to yearn for seasonal pastimes. On Thursday, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro sent a letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo advocating for permissible recreation activities to be expanded to include youth sports such as baseball and soccer. In the letter Molinaro wrote, “In addition to being unable to finish the school year in the classroom with their friends, many of the fun activities that accompany childhood have had to be understandably curbed. Given we, as a state, are well into the NY Forward re-opening process, I ask you officially give youth sports teams the ability to resume practice and play at County parks throughout the state, as such activities enhance our children’s lives in numerous ways.”

In addition to longing for a return to cautious normality, many believe the physical activity and socialization involved in youth athletics are two critical components in early childhood development. County Executive Molinaro went on to write, “…youth sports allow our children to take advantage of the warm weather, escape the indoor confines to which they’ve been relegated since mid-March, and enjoy the chance to simply be a kid with friends they haven’t seen in months.”

New York has made significant progress over the past few weeks according to officials and has made major steps toward flattening the curve while managing the spread of COVID-19. Along with the continued re-opening of businesses and activities throughout the state, allowing youth sports to resume seems to be a feasible move in the right direction. “Games such as baseball, softball, and soccer, among others, by their very nature, easily allow for social distancing, with players spaced out on very large fields,” Molinaro wrote. “As such, I strongly encourage (Governor Cuomo) to permit our children to salvage part of their summer by resuming youth sports.”

For more information on Dutchess County’s Restarting Dutchess initiative, visit