December 2, 2021

Plan outlined for fall programs

Photo provided by New York State Public High School Athletic Association

ALBANY — On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced the protocols for high school sports to return to play this fall.

Beginning Sept. 21, sports deemed “low risk” — tennis, soccer, field hockey, cross country and swimming — can practice and play within their own regions. Sports deemed “higher risk” with full physical contact — football, wrestling, rugby and ice hockey — can practice, but cannot play until Dec. 31.

Teams cannot play other teams outside their region or contiguous regions or counties until Oct. 19.

NYSPHSAA executive director Dr. Robert Zayas said on Twitter the announcement was “great news for student athletes” and that he would meet with section executive directors and the COVID task force today for specific guidance.

“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,” Cuomo said in a press release from the NYSPHSAA. “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.”

The press release also said that “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.”