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State DOH Allows High Risk Sports To Begin on Feb. 1

LATHAM, NY – The New York State Public High School Athletic Association Inc., (NYSPHSAA) announces high risk sports have been authorized by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) to begin practice and competition on February 1st, 2021 if permitted by the respective local health authorities. Governor Cuomo also offered his approval on Friday afternoon to the directive to allow state basketball, hockey, wrestling and competitive cheerleading to begin a condensed season.

In Section 10 the sport of indoor track-field is still on pause because no college facilities are available to host the the meets.

On Friday afternoon, the NYSDOH released updated Interim Guidance for Sports and Recreation During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. On page 5 of the document it states, “Effective February 1, 2021, participants in higher risk sports and recreation activities may partake in individual or distanced group training and organized no/low-contact group training and, further, may partake in other types of play, including competitions and tournaments, only as permitted by the respective local health authorities (i.e., county health departments).”

“We are extremely thankful to Governor Cuomo and the New York State Department of Health for providing authorization for all sports to begin,” said Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director. “I am thrilled our association’s member schools will be able to provide over two hundred thousand students with valuable and beneficial participation experiences. Today is certainly a great day for the students of New York State.”

On Monday, January 25th NYSPHSAA will release an updated Return to Interscholastic Athletics resource document for winter sports and Fall Season II. The update will provide information on guidelines to follow all aspects of indoor and outdoor sports as football is scheduled to be played in Fall II sports season which currently is scheduled to start on March 1.

As far as winter sports in Section 10 are concerned the ball is the court of the St. Lawrence County, Franklin County and Lewis County Health Departments.

“Local health authorities should consider the following factors in authorizing or continuing to prohibit higher risk sports and recreational activities as, in many areas, these factors may weigh against permitting such activities:

▪ whether there has been a more-transmissible variant of COVID-19 identified in the area,

▪ local rates of COVID-19 transmission or rate of positivity, and

▪ local ability to monitor and enforce compliance." said a directive in Friday's announcement from the New York State Department of Health.



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