The Wolf administration left the decision about whether students should return to in-person classes, remote learning or a blend of the two up to the individual school administrators and school boards. Apparently, that suggestion also applies to sports.
The governor’s office released the following press release regarding school and recreational youth sports. The Wolf administration is strongly recommending that school and recreational youth sports be postponed until at least Jan. 1 to protect children and teens from COVID-19 – but it is only a recommendation, not an order or a mandate, made by the Department of Health & Education.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health and Department of Education today jointly recommended that Pre-K–12 school and recreational youth sports be postponed until at least Jan. 1, 2021, to protect children and teens from COVID-19.
The administration is providing this strong recommendation and not an order or mandate. As with deciding whether students should return to in-person classes, remote learning or a blend of the two this fall, school administrators and locally elected school boards should make decisions on sports.
Highlights of the recommendation to pause youth sports until Jan. 1, 2021:
- Applies to team and individual, school and non-school recreational youth sports;
- Includes competitions, intramural play and scrimmages;
- Continue conditioning, drills and other training activities on an individual basis;
- Does not apply to collegiate and professional sports;
- Gathering limits remain unchanged – no more than 25 persons may gather indoors and 250 outdoors.
The administration is updating existing sports guidance to reflect this recommendation.
Immediately following the release of the Wolf administration recommendation on sports, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) issued this statement:
Today, Governor Wolf issued a statement of strongly recommending no interscholastic and recreational sports until January 1st. We are tremendously disappointed in this decision. Our member schools have worked diligently to develop health and safety plans to allow students the safe return to interscholastic athletics.
The Board of Directors with the PIAA will meet Friday afternoon to review the action. At that time, they will have an official statement.
Who will ultimately make the decision for fall sports in T/E? School board and/or administration? PIAA? Will the parents of the players have a say?