POINT PLEASANT BEACH — The Point Pleasant Beach School District has come up with a plan to give parents and fans access to their favorite Point Beach Garnet Gulls sporting events. The district will use high-definition cameras in the Point Beach High School gymnasium and on Donald Fioretti Field, giving parents a way to view athletes’ games and matches live on their computer. “We are very happy to give the opportunity for parents to be able to watch their children compete,” said district Athletic Director Richard LaDuca. All indoor events – including boys and girls basketball, volleyball and wrestling – will be live-streamed, he said. In the spring and fall, these streams will include events on the Donald Fioretti Field such as junior varsity and varsity football, soccer, lacrosse and track meets. Parents can purchase a subscription for $10.99 a month or $69.99 for a year through the NFHS network. The subscription also gives access to any other school’s events. According to Mr. LaDuca, coaches will email the parents the links for each individual game and share them on all the school’s social media sites. The school district does not make any money from the broadcast, he said. “Another benefit of the NFHS network is the ability to go back and watch a recording of the game,” said Mr. LaDuca. “I am a parent who missed many of my children’s games in the past due to conflicting obligations. I wish I had the ability to go on-demand and watch a game in its entirety.” According to Mr. LaDuca, school officials are working on the ability to stream away games, as well. “As a school district, we understand how devastating COVID-19 has been to our students,” he said. “Athletics has an important role in the development of young adults.” He said the district has made it one of its biggest priorities to provide a safe opportunity for athletes to compete. “The administration, nurse and athletic office are in daily contact with each other to ensure the safest environment possible,” said Mr. LaDuca. “The coaches are given a daily report on which of their athletes may or may not participate.” “The health and well-being of our community is one of our biggest concerns,” he continued. “Our decisions are always made with the best intentions for the educational process. Some may agree and some may not, but that is the intention.” School Superintendent William Smith said the new cameras will help the school and its community during the pandemic. “Despite some compromises and a few setbacks, we have been able to facilitate a competitive interscholastic sports program for our high school students,” said Mr. Smith. “Indoor sports create a significant but not insurmountable challenge to the organization.” “We hope that the installation of high-quality, motion-tracking cameras addresses one of the most significant challenges – enabling fans to watch indoor events,” he said. “These cameras should enable more fans of the Garnet Gulls to cheer on their favorite teams during the pandemic and beyond. Advances in technology have presented this 21st-century solution as a replacement for in-person attendance now, and as a supplement to in-person attendance in the future. I suspect we’ve only scratched the surface of this technology’s application to our events programming.”
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