NYSPHSAA Issues Return To Athletics Guidelines
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association has released a Return To Athletics Resounce Document for its member schools on Friday.
No changes have been made in designations of low and high risk sports.
In Section 10 soccer, swimming and cross country are low risk sports and football, volleyball and cheerleading are high risk sports. All sports can begin practice on Sept. 21 but high risk sports may not play games until authorized by the NYSPHSAA.
The Return To Athletics Resource Document is an enormous body of work outlining regulations which schools and teams have to follow. Regulations specify mandates on the use of masks during practice and games and how social distancing must be maintained among the athletes, coaches, officials, game-day personell and spectators.
The document can be accessed on the NYSPHSAA website.
Individual school districts have the authority and autonomy to administer their district’s athletic
programs as they deem appropriate.
One factor which could greatly impact the landscape of Section 10 is schools adopting on-line learning only. According to the New York State Department of Health guidance, if a school closes for in-person learning due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, school-sponsored athletics will also be suspended until in-person education resumes. On Friday Massena Central announced that will adopting the on-line learning only format until Oct. 13.
The NYPHSAA has issued a list of most asked questions which are listed below.
NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Response
Q: What is NYSPHSAA doing to address the ongoing COVID-19 crisis?
A: The NYSPHSAA continues to work with state officials in response to the COVID-19 crisis. NYSPHSAA has also established a COVID-19 Task Force with member representatives to examine the impact of the virus and provide guidance and recommendations to NYSPHSAA member schools. The Task Force is comprised of NYSPHSAA staff, superintendents, athletic directors, principals, section executive directors, and athletic trainers within the NYSPHSAA membership. NYSPHSAA and its Task Force continue to analyze rules for each sport it sponsors to determine additional safety guidelines to minimize risk.
Q: Where is the best source of information for interscholastic athletics related to the COVID-19 crisis?
A: The NYSPHSAA has created a dedicated page on its website to provide up-to-date information related to the COVID-19 crisis.
Q: Who has the authority to amend or change the state issued guidance related to interscholastic athletics?
A: State Officials (New York State Department of Health, New York State Education Department) are the only entities that have the authority to modify, amend or revise the guidance provided to schools.
NYSPHSAA is required to follow state issued guidance. NYSPHSAA only has the authority to amend NYSPHSAA rules or regulations.
Q: How often is the NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Task Force meeting?
A: The Task Force meets as needed to ensure the most updated information can be examined and reviewed. The Task Force has met on June 10, June 30, July 16, August 25, and August 31. The committee will continue to meet as concerns arise during the 2020-21 school year.
Q: How will NYSPHSAA decisions be made moving forward?
A: Both the NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Task Force and NYSPHSAA Officers will be part of the decision making process between quarterly NYSPHSAA Executive/Central Committee meetings. The Task Force is a recommending body and will forward its recommendations to either the officers or Executive/Central Committees of NYSPHSAA. In the absence of quarterly Executive/Central Committee meetings, the NYSPHSAA Officers have the authority, as per the NYSPHSAA constitution, to approve recommendations
Eligibility Standards & NYSED
Q: If a student is fully remote, are they eligible to participate in interscholastic athletics?
A: According to the New York State Education Department, a student may participate in interscholastic athletics if he/she is taking three courses plus physical education (Bona Fide Student) regardless of the education platform being utilized (fully remote, hybrid, etc.). [See NYSED September 1, 2020 MEMO in Attachments]
Q: Do students need a physical exam to participate in the Fall interscholastic athletic season?
A: No; NYSED has waived the physical exam requirement for students for the 2020 Fall season.
According to the New York State Education Department, any student who had a physical during the 2018-19 or 2019-20 school year is eligible to participate in interscholastic athletics this Fall (2020) providing they submit an updated healthy history form to the district. At this time, no extension has been granted to Winter or Spring athletes. [See NYSED May 21, 2020 MEMO in Attachments]
Q: Has the NYSPHSAA Transfer Rule been amended or revised because of the COVID-19 crisis?
A: There have been no revisions to the current NYSPHSAA Transfer Rule.
Q: Has the NYSED Athletic Placement Process (APP) been modified or revised as a result of the COVID- 19 crisis Testing?
A: No revisions have been made to the APP. According to the New York State Education Department, students must complete all components of the Athletic Placement Process (APP) including a current physical, maturation test and physical fitness test.
Q: Has the NYSED recommended any revisions to the Health History update?
A: No revisions have been recommended for the Health History update form. According to the New York State Education Department, all students are required to provide the school district an updated health history form if they have not had an updated physical within 30 days of the season.
Q: Will students be provided additional years of eligibility because of the COVID-19 crisis?
A: As per the New York State Education Department’s Duration of Competition Regulation, students are limited to 4 consecutive years of athletic eligibility upon entering the 9th grade (5 years for students who participate at the high school level as an 8th grader and 6 years for students who participate at the high school level as a 7th grader). Students are able to apply for an extension of eligibility, as per the regulation, if the student experiences an illness, accident or social/ emotional condition which causes the student to miss a semester of eligibility AND the illness, accident or social/ emotional condition requires
the student to take additional semesters to graduate. The current interpretation is students who repeat a grade because of the COVID-19 crisis would not be candidates for an extension of eligibility since school has continued to occur and credits towards graduation have not been interrupted.
Q: Have NYSED coaching certification requirements been amended because of the COVID-19 crisis?
A: Yes. NYSED’s June 23rd memo states:
“All coaches of extracurricular sports must complete a sport-specific theory and techniques
of coaching course within five years of their initial appointment as a coach. One of the
requirements in this course is an internship experience. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak,
coaches are currently not able to complete the internship experience in-person with P-12
students, mentors, and/or supervisors given the closures of schools, sports teams, and
other athletics settings.
For the internship experience during Summer 2020, we encourage course instructors to
provide opportunities for coaches to work with P-12 students, mentors, and supervisors
in-person or virtually using distance education instructional methods and technologies,
wherever possible. If this type of interaction is not possible for the entire experience,
course instructors may supplement the internship experience with alternative methods of
instruction. However, the internship must include some virtual and/or in-person interaction
with P-12 students.
Alternative methods of instruction must ensure that the coaches develop the knowledge
and skills expected during internship experience. Examples of alternative methods of
instruction include, but are not limited to, simulations, video case studies, and other
coaching exercises.” [See NYSED June 23, 2020 MEMO in Attachments]
A second, June 23rd NYSED memo states:
“Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, current and prospective coaches may not be able to maintain or gain first aid and CPR/AED certification, respectively, with certification courses not being held in- person. Given the lack of in-person certification courses, the Department is providing the following flexibility regarding the first aid and CPR/AED certification requirements for coaches.
Extension. Current coaches who previously earned first aid and/or CPR/AED certification through a course from a NYSED-approved provider, and whose certification expires between March 1, 2020 and November 30, 2020, will have the certification expiration date extended to November 30, 2020. If opportunities for in-person certification courses are not available by November 30th,the Department will revisit the extension and provide a new expiration date. Coaches who earned first aid and/or CPR/AED certification through NYSED-approved courses offered by a national provider would not have the certification expiration date extended by NYSED, and must update their first aid and/or CPR/AED certification per certifying agency requirements. For coaches who earned first aid and/or CPR/AED certification through American Red Cross course(s), possible certificate extensions are described on the American Red Cross COVID-19 Guidance webpage.
Online Content. For first aid and/or CPR/AED certification courses from a NYSED-approved
provider, the content can continue to be taught either online and/or in-person. However,
candidates must demonstrate their (psychomotor) skills to earn first aid and/or CPR/AED
certification. Candidates who complete NYSED-approved first aid and/or CPR/AED certification courses offered by a national provider must complete their first aid and/or CPR/AED certification per certifying agency requirements. [See NYSED June 23, 2020 MEMO in Attachments]
Fall 2020 Season
Q: If the Fall sports season is interrupted, could the condensed season model still be considered?
A: With regional differences, schools and areas will continue to be impacted differently by the COVID-19 crisis. If the Fall sports season is interrupted or impacted by the COVID-19 crisis then a condensed seasons plan could still be implemented. That decision will be made by the NYSPHSAA officers with the information available at that time.
Q: Has the NYSPHSAA Seven-day rule been waived?
A: The NYSPHSAA Officers waived the 7-day rule starting on October 12, 2020. The rule was waived to allow schools and teams more days to complete Fall schedules.
Q: Can sections decide to move the Football and Volleyball seasons to a different time of the year?
A: Yes; sections have the autonomy and authority to move any sport to a different season.
Q: Will there be Regionals and State Championships this Fall?
A: No; NYSPHSAA Regionals and State championship events will not be conducted this Fall.
Q: Can sections host a Sectional Championship this Fall?
A: Yes; sections can host a Sectional Championship this Fall. Sections will have 15 weeks to conduct the Fall season and may schedule a Sectional Tournament following their regular season.
Q: Will Modified and Junior Varsity athletics be permitted this Fall?
A: The hosting of interscholastic athletics this Fall is at the sole discretion of the individual school district.
Winter 2020-2021 Season
Q: When can high-risk Winter sports start practicing and competing?
A: NYSPHSAA announced November 30th has been approved as the official Winter sports start date.
Q: Will there be Regionals and State Championships during the Winter Season?
A: Yes, however it is subject to change.
Spring 2021 Season
Q: When can high-risk Spring sports start practicing and competing?
A: NYSPHSAA announced March 15th has been approved as the official Spring sports start date.
Q: Will there be Regionals and State Championships during the Spring Season?
A: Yes, however it is subject to change.