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Grand Island High School: Start of fall sports season pushed back to Sept. 2

Sat, Jul 18th 2020 07:00 am

The officers of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Thursday voted to delay the official start date of the fall 2020 sports season, to cancel the fall 2020 regional and state championships and to prepare 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 when they convened as a working group for the third time Thursday morning.

“As the state considers reopening, it is unrealistic to believe athletic seasons can start on Aug. 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 and state championship events.

•Waive seven-day practice rule.

•Maintain current practice requirements.

•Encourage geographic scheduling for games and 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.”

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.

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