LET THE KIDS PLAY: New York gives conditional green light to "low risk" youth sports this fall

Troy Record-4 months before

Starting on Sept. 21, “lower-risk” sports will be able to practice and play. Lower-risk sports include tennis, soccer, cross-country, field hockey and swimming. For roughly the first month, teams in those sports can only travel within their respective region or an adjacent region or county to play or practice.

Like other facets of the state’s COVID-19 recovery plan, New York plans to allow youth sports to come back gradually.

“We want to see how it works,” Cuomo said. “Schools opening in general is a big question mark. What would the effect be? The fall is a big...question mark. Many of the experts are suggesting that may be a second wave or reoccurrence so phasing it will allow us to watch it.”

The reopening of school-sponsored sports has become a fragmented issue nationwide, one that’s sparked as much protest and debate as other aspects of COVID-19 emergency orders, such as closing nonessential businesses or requiring masks or facial coverings.

In Kentucky on Monday, more than 100 student-athletes, parents, coaches and other supporters rallied at the Capitol to urge Gov. Andy Beshear not to squash plans approved by the state’s high school athletic association last week to only delay of the start of all fall sports, except golf, until next month. Golf was allowed to start on schedule earlier this summer.

With some Kentucky school districts having already started classes and others starting this week, Beshear has asked educators to hold off on in-classroom learning until late September, citing the recent spike in COVID cases in the state. He said during his daily news conference Monday that he would not overturn the school athletic association's decision, although he didn't necessarily agree with it.

Pennsylvania's fall school season was thrown into turmoil by an offhand remark from Gov. Tom Wolf at the conclusion of a news conference several weeks ago that no sports should be played until 2021. After weeks of debate, the state athletics association allowed practices to begin Monday.

allowed practices to begin Monday According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, 36 states and the District of Columbia have modified fall athletic seasons to varying extents.

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations Of the states that have modified fall schedules, 17 have already opted to not play football in the fall. New York isn’t quite ready to make that decision yet.

Higher-risk sports such as football, wrestling, ice hockey and volleyball can practice but cannot play. The current plan indicates those sports can play at “a later date or Dec. 31.” Practices for those sports, which have high physical contact rates or have several people touching the same equipment, are limited to no or low-contact training.

Schools will be required to follow state Department of Health guidelines for sports and recreational activities. Capacity for indoor facilities will be limited to 50 percent standard occupancy and the number of spectators will be capped at no more than two per each player. Face coverings and other social distancing guidelines must also be observed.

“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,” Cuomo said.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY - Schools around the Capital Region celebrated the news that there would be sports in the fall, although not all of them, with many Athletic Departments retweeting the news.

Prior to the announcement, Shenendehowa reminded us that today would have been the first day of fall sports had this been a normal year.

"Today would have been the first day of the 2020 Fall Sports season," @ShenAthletics tweeted. "Instead of hundreds of student-athletes returning to fields and gyms on campus, everything sits empty. Hopefully some good news is on the way from @NYGovCuomo and @NYSPHSAA this week. We need some good news!!"

@NYGovCuomo @NYSPHSAA They would be sports like soccer, field hockey, tennis and cross country approved, while sports like football and field hockey are still in limbo.

The next steps for New York High School athletes were outlined by Dr. Robert Zayas ahead of Governor Cuomo's announcement.

"Preparing for guidance from @NYGovCuomo@NYSPHSAA will utilize the following timeline once guidance is released: 1) within 24 hrs, Section Directors & Officers will meet, 2) within 48 hrs, COVID Task Force will meet, 3) within 72 hrs, Officers will make a decision "IF" needed," Zayas tweeted.

@NYGovCuomo @NYSPHSAA Monday's news was likely the best case scenario for the return of interscholastic athletics, although the Averill Park Athletic Department brought up the fact that more information and guidance is going to be needed before the September 21 restart can take effect.

"While this is obviously a step in the right direction we are awaiting more detailed guidance from @NYSPHSAA and @Sect2athletics later this week," tweeted the @AP_Warriors.

@NYSPHSAA @Sect2athletics "This is good news to get us back into sports!! We will have more guidance from @NYSPHSAA this week on exactly how this will look," @BHBLAthletics tweeted.


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