The New York State Public High School Athletic Association on Friday night released an updated and comprehensive set of guidelines to assist schools in their preparation for, and their conducting of, the fall sports season.
The fall season is set to begin Sept. 21, and no school-sponsored athletic activities are permitted before that date.
“As NYSPHSAA and its 11 member sections continue to gather information pertaining to the COVID-19 virus and receive continued feedback the contents of this document may be revised,” the document read. “NYSPHSAA is committed to maximizing the interscholastic athletic opportunities for students across the state. Furthermore, NYSPHSAA will remain flexible in considering that certain sports may be impacted differently, and play may need to be modified at some point during the season.”
The document includes recommendations on numerous subjects including health screenings, general conduct and responsibilities for student-athletes, coaches, parents/spectators and school administrators, team travel, hosting competitions and the cleaning and disinfecting of athletic facilities and equipment.
“Participation in interscholastic athletics is certainly voluntary for both the individuals and the schools. NYSPHSAA recognizes school district superintendents and boards of education have the authority and autonomy to administer their district’s athletic programs as they deem appropriate,” the document read.
The document included a plethora of recommendations, for example, for coaches to keep accurate records of those athletes and staff who attend each practice and game/contest in case contact tracing is needed; for student-athletes to bring and use their own water bottles; for parents/guardians to disinfect their student’s personal equipment after each game or practice; and for administrators to consider scheduling practices, games and competitions to accommodate bus transportation availability.
In reference to the document, the New York State Athletic Administrators Association wrote on its @NYSAAA6 Twitter account: “ADs will be collaborating with their respective Superintendents as to how to proceed. We all know there are many obstacles to overcome and want nothing more than to get kids playing . . . safely and responsibly.”
Beginning Sept. 21 all fall sports except football and volleyball are permitted to practice and play games afterward. Football and volleyball, categorized as higher-risk sports by the state health department, will be limited to practice only and “no games or scrimmages are permitted until authorization is granted by state officials or Dec. 31st,” the document read.
On Monday the NYSPHSAA officers voted to delay the start of the winter sports season two weeks from Nov. 16 to Nov. 30 in order to give fall sports teams more time to complete their seasons.
The NYSPHSAA also revised the minimum fall practice requirements from six practices to 10 for all sports but football, and from 10 to 12 for football. That decision does not affect golf, which has no minimum practice requirement.
Monday’s decisions also included waving the seven consecutive day rule as of Oct. 12.