J-Burg AD Mitchell discusses winter sports

Johnsonburg Athletic Director Emily Mitchell
Bob Parana - Staff Writer

The Johnsonburg Area School District returned to in-person learning Monday after being remote since Dec. 15 due to COVID-19. The return allowed the basketball and wrestling teams to get back to practice. The Rams are set to open the 2020 season by hosting Elk County Catholic on Friday. The Ramettes will travel to ECC Saturday, and the Jr. High and Varsity wrestling teams will host Coudersport the same day.

The school’s Athletic Director Emily Mitchell is tasked with the job of keeping seasons, albeit shortened, on track. Johnsonburg will be competing in the IU9 Bubble as it did in the fall. They will play teams from Elk, McKean, Cameron, and Potter Counties. Putting a schedule together during the COVID pandemic has not been easy. In fact, it’s quite a challenge with changes occurring on almost a daily basis.

“You’re never just one phone call away from a solution. There are multiple things. It’s not just rescheduling teams. It’s rescheduling everything from busing to game help, to ensure everything will be ready. You’re rescheduling but at the same time in the back of your mind you know you still have to contact trace and COVID symptom check every day and every practice and you need to notify the coaches of every change.” She said.

She knows the importance of extra-curricular activities no matter the result on the scoreboard.
“Obviously our focus is to have our after-school programs do the best they can when looking at wins and losses. But, on my side, I look at it as a win-win when no one is getting sick and everything goes according to your game plan. It’s about getting them the experience and playing time while juggling athletics with the pandemic - to help build character for these athletes.”

The public can stay informed with athletic schedules and changes with the district’s sports page – ramathletics.bigteam.com. You’ll find information about the teams and schedules and can sign up to be notified of changes.

Counting the athletes, coaches, and game workers, schools across the Commonwealth can fill their gyms to 10-percent of the capacity. In the case of Johnsonburg, the maximum amount is 40 people. If or when that number goes up Mitchell said parents will be the first consideration. The school Livestreams home contests on its Facebook page (facbook.com/johnsonburgasdnews.)

While challenges lie ahead Mitchell sees light at the end of the tunnel.

“We’re going to get through it but it’s all of us coming together to make it.”