CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – On Monday, Katonah-Lewisboro Superintendent Andrew Selesnick pleaded with social distancing violators who were continuing to gather in groups at the John Jay campus to play sports.
Police had already been called to Cross River campus several times to break up the games, which sometimes resumed shortly after the officers left.
“I hope that we can continue allowing individual access to our facilities for appropriate, socially responsible exercise. But the health and wellbeing of all must and will be the determining factor,” Selesnick wrote to the school community. “Please join me in telling them to make a small sacrifice now for the much greater good.”
Sacrifice they did not. Police were called to the campus again on Tuesday to break up even more games.
As a result, the school facilities will be closed entirely, Selesnick said.
“Starting [Wednesday], entrances to the middle and high school campus are blocked,” Selesnick wrote. “There should be no use of our athletic facilities by anyone while schools remain closed…We simply cannot ask our first responders to spend their valuable time at our schools enforcing the governor’s rule about social distancing.”
Groups of people were gathering at the track, the football field and the tennis courts “just about every day,” said Lewisboro Police Chief David Alfano.
“We were nonstop getting 9-1-1 calls and text messages from residents in towns that I know,” Alfano said.
Recently, a Lewisboro police officer driving on Route 121 used his patrol car speakers to disperse a crowd that had gathered at the campus. When the officer drove by 10 minutes later, the game had resumed, Alfano said.
“No one’s listening,” Alfano said. “It’s a shame because it ruins it for people who were just walking the track.”
The violators generally ranged in age from high schoolers to 30-year-olds, Alfano said.
Not only will entrances to the campus be blocked, but gates to the athletic facilities will be locked and there will be signage indicating the facilities are off-limits.
Use of the facilities will no longer be considered just a violation of the governor’s social distancing orders, Alfano said. It will also be considered criminal trespassing.
“If anybody is caught trespassing, they will be arrested if it comes down to it,” Alfano said.
The entrance barriers will be removed for lunch pickups on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Selesnick said.
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