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PIAA Approves Start of Falls Sports

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (EYT) – High school sports will resume in the fall with a number of precautionary measures.

According to the York Dispatch, on Wednesday, the PIAA’s board of directors voted unanimously to move forward with a plan for fall sports. The plan would include a normal schedule and a number of precautions.

The decision was made despite the fact that many schools throughout Pennsylvania have made the decision not to sent students back to face-to-face instruction due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In a previous vote, the PIAA Sports Medicine Advisory Steering Committee (SMAC) approved fall sports to begin on August 10 with heat acclimation and full practices to start on August 17, with safety protocols in place.

While the PIAA has given their approval, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine declined to endorse the decision, stating the same data being used to make decisions about sending students back to their classrooms should also be used to make decisions regarding athletics.

The PIAA has set a number of safety protocols, including the caveat that one positive test would force an entire team into a 14-day quarantine.

There is also a provision that because policies allow students that choose cyber education to participate in sports, a school switching over to fully virtual learning would not immediately end the school’s sports season.

Some specific points in regard to football include a recommendation that players wear face shields on the field and the sidelines, a ten-yard extension of team boxes, and cleaning of the ball on a rotation. The PIAA is also recommending teams minimize huddling.