Early last week, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) announced that the high school fall athletic season’s official start date has been delayed until September 21. The organization also canceled the fall 2020 Regional and State Championships, and are prepared to implement a condensed season schedule in January 2021 if high school sports remain prohibited throughout 2020 due to COVID-19. This decision comes at the recommendation of the NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Task Force.
“As the state considers reopening, it is unrealistic to believe athletic seasons can start on August 24 as originally scheduled,” said Paul Harrica, NYSPHSAA President. “The priority will continue to be on the educational process and a return to learning in the safest way possible.”
The NYSPHSAA Officers’ Decision Includes:
Delay fall sports start date until Monday, Sept. 21
Cancel Fall Regional & State Championship events
Waive seven-day practice rule
Maintain current practice requirements
Encourage geographic scheduling for games & contests
Schools would have the option, if permitted by state officials, to offer off season conditioning workouts.
“We recognize this is challenging for everyone, but the decisions made at the State level are based upon data and statewide infection rates all in an effort to stop the spread of COVID and reopen responsibly,” said Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director. “At this time, Department of Health guidance presented on July 13 prohibits interscholastic athletics across the state. The association will continue to follow state guidance and will work collectively with state officials to ensure high school athletics will start up responsibly in the future. As an association, we must be willing to be flexible and continue to explore all options with students’ safety as our main focus,” Zayas concluded.
With regional differences, schools and areas will be impacted differently by the COVID-19 crisis. At the discretion of the NYSPHSAA Officers and authorization from state officials, if the fall sports seasons are interrupted or impacted by COVID-19 crisis (i.e., state official guidance, school closings, cancelation of high-risk sports, etc.) then a condensed seasons plan will be implemented.
“We will continue to closely follow the guidance from NYSPHSAA,” says Washingtonville CSD Athletic Director NAME NAME. “We encourage parents and students to check our website for updates and direction should we need to shift our athletic program and implement a condensed season.”
The condensed season plan would entail the following, with the stipulated dates being tentative.
Season I: Winter Sports
Dates: January 4 through March 13, 2021 (Week 27-36)
Season: 10 Weeks
Sports: basketball (girls & boys), bowling (girls & boys), gymnastics, ice hockey (girls & boys), indoor track & field (girls & boys), skiing (girls & boys), swimming (boys), *wrestling, *competitive cheer. *Because of the high risk nature of wrestling and competitive cheer, sports may have to be moved to Season II or season III.
Season II: Fall Sports
Dates: March 1 through May 8, 2021 (Week 35-44)
Season: 10 Weeks
Sports: football, cross country (girls & boys), field hockey, soccer (girls & boys), swimming (girls), volleyball (girls & boys), Unified bowling.
Note: Weather will have an impact upon outdoor sports in some parts of the state in March and potentially early April. Girls tennis has been moved to Season III.
Season III : Spring Sports
Dates: April 5 through June 12, 2020 (Week 40-49)
Season: 10 Weeks
Sports: baseball, softball, golf (girls & boys), lacrosse (girls & boys), tennis (girls & boys), outdoor track & field (girls & boys), Unified basketball.
The NYSPHSAA Officers have the ability to adjust seasons with the authority granted within the NYSPHSAA Constitution which states: “Article IV, 2: A committee of officers in consultation with the staff shall have the authority to act on all matters not provided for in this constitution and bylaws, and on such emergency business as may arise between regular meetings of the Executive Committee.”
In an effort to assist schools in complying with recently released NYSDOH guidance, the NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Task Force is supportive of the use of the ezSCRN application. The ezSCRN application provides a unique online tool for schools to utilize if screening is part of their reopening plan as it complies with New York state and national restrictions and guidelines (i.e. Ed 2D Law, etc.). The EzScrn application allows a school or team to easily screen, trace and track students/ staff and immediately notify school administrators and health care officials if anyone exhibits COVID-19 symptoms.