LATHAM, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – On Wednesday, June 10th, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association held its first COVID-19 Task Force meeting. The task force consists of superintendents, principals, athletic directors, members of the NYSPHSAA, an athletic trainer, a district transportation director, members from the NYS Education Department and NYS Department of Health; and will be the guiding force in high school athletes returning to sports when it is safe to do so.
In a released statement, NYSPHSAA President and Task Force Chair Paul Harrica said high school athletes can not return to their sport of choice without being in school.
“From the reports provided, it is clear school district facilities cannot be opened for student participation until Phase 4 is entered. The health and safety of our student-athletes remains our top priority,” said Harrica.
That was reiterated today by NYSPHSAA Executive Director Dr. Robert Zayas in a zoom conference call today.
“We have to wait for guidance from the Governor’s office and the department of health and the state education department,” said Zayas.
The task force will mainly use National Federation of State High School Associations in addition to other guidelines and guidance from New York state officials on the return to sports. With that in mind, guidance on students returning to on-campus activities for summer workouts will be released this week.
The results of a COVID-19 survey was also released today. Over 6,000 responses were counted. You can see the survey here.
Some other takeaways from today’s press conference:
- Based on the COVID-19 survey, the most important factor was returning to in-person school safely and having students play in sports. The least important factor was having fans at games or holding any state championships
- NFHS guidance has athletes in groups of 10 when practices resume and should stay in those groups during workouts
- It is “way too early to start talking about flip flopping seasons” in regards to playing more traditional spring sports this fall and moving traditional fall sports to the fall since they are considered lower risk sports according to the NFHS guidelines to not potentially be detrimental to spring athletes who had their seasons cancelled in May
- As different regions reach different phases at different times, it is possible that schools will open before others. It is more important that students are participating and not that the hope of a state championship remains
The next Task Force meeting will be held later in June.