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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Sports > General

Green light given to low-risk fall sports

Aug 27, 2020

Soccer has been announced as a low risk fall sport. School-sponsored sports in all regions may begin to practice and play beginning September 21. However, high risks sports like football and volleyball may begin to practice on September 21 but cannot play until a later date or December 31. Pictured is Liberty's Owen Siegel showing off his footwork in a Class B playoff game against Ellenville.
NEW YORK STATE -- Earlier this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced lower-risk, school-sponsored sports in all regions may begin to practice and play beginning September 21.
However, travel for practice or play will be prohibited outside of the school's region or contiguous regions or counties until October 19. For the fall sports season, lower- and moderate-risk sports include tennis, soccer, cross country, field hockey and swimming.
Higher-risk sports, including those with full physical contact, may begin to practice on September 21 but cannot play until a later date or December 31. In accordance with the Department of Health's guidance for sports and recreation during the COVID-19 public health emergency, practices for higher-risk sports are limited to individual or group, no-to low-contact training. Higher-risk sports include football, wrestling, rugby, hockey and volleyball.

“The State has done a lot of research on how we can safely have our students participate in school sports and get the exercise they need, and the guidance we developed will allow lower-risk sports to begin practicing and playing next month,” Governor Cuomo said. “We are approaching youth sports as we have approached everything else in our phased reopening -- teams are not allowed to compete outside a school's region or contiguous region for the time being until we can gauge the effects.”
Schools must follow the Department's guidance for the conduct of their school sports. Schools will have to limit capacity of indoor facilities to no more than 50 percent occupancy and limit spectators to no more than two spectators per player, in addition to implementing social distancing and face coverings.
Shortly after the announcement, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association was quick to act, conducting two meetings on Tuesday.
First the eleven section executive directors, officers and NYSPHSAA staff met in the morning, while the NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Task Force met that afternoon, for the fourth time, since the COVID-19 crisis began.
The meetings were held to examine and discuss the start of the fall sports seasons and analyze guidance from state officials. The NYSPHSAA will continue to review guidance as recommendations and considerations are developed to aid schools with the implementation of interscholastic athletic programs.
Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director, noted that they were encouraged and appreciative of the Governor's decision. “As the governing body for interscholastic sports in NYS, our primary role will be to work with schools, coaches and parents to ensure recommended COVID-19 guidelines are practiced vigilantly for the safety and wellness of all student-athletes,” Zayas said. “Over 200,000 students participate in the fall high school sports seasons and yesterday's announcement was certainly a positive step for all those athletes.”
The leadership of NYSPHSAA and eleven sections realize there are challenges to overcome and questions to be addressed in an effort to provide a beneficial participation experience for student-athletes this fall.
“Our primary goal is to get students back into an academic setting and then work on athletic participation opportunities,” said Paul Harrica, NYSPHSAA President and Chair of the COVID-19 Task Force.
The NYSPHSAA's staff, section executive directors and COVID-19 Task Force were also slated to meet again before this week's end.
Decisions must be formulized to address the number of required practices student-athletes will need before participating in a scrimmage or contest, the maximum number of contests and games to be permitted during the season and the development of considerations for schools to utilize as interscholastic athletics return to schools and communities throughout the state.
And to complicate matters further, on Wednesday, The New York State Council of School Superintendents sent a letter to the Governor asking him to reverse his decision and delay the start of high school sports until Jan. 1, 2021.

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