[1] In response, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, Inc. (PIAA), the governing … The Middle Atlantic Conference announced Friday morning the suspension of its fall sports for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi says if fall sports are canceled, it would have to be by the governor. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter . The North Allegheny student section cheers after a Tigers’ score at Wright Field at Newman Stadium on Sept. 20, 2019, during a game against Mt. The PIAA, an organization whose website uses the tagline, “A Principals’ Organization, Principle-Based” and whose constitution declares a purpose to be “to organize develop, and direct an interscholastic program which will promote, protect and conserve the health and physical welfare of all participants” chose to to ignore the health concerns and desires of the Principals Association, PASA, and the PSBA — the three groups directly responsible for safely leading the schools that make up the PIAA. Soccer teams are instructed to hold socially distant pre-game, halftime and post-game meetings off the playing surface, when possible. Handshakes are nixed. Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission. Tom Wolf’s administration while finalizing the guidelines. “They are adamant that if each and every one of us at our schools follows our return-to-school as well as our health-and-safety plans … we have a chance to protect ourselves, protect others and protect the season,” Lombardi said. When fall sports began, the counties that makeup my district (Northampton and Lehigh) had case rates of 17 per 100,000 and 16 per 100,000 residents in a 7-day period. On the PIAA’s website, the group proudly states that taxpayer money is not used to fund the organization and that “PIAA’s principal source of revenue is the sale of tickets to its Inter-District Championship Contests.” Postponing seasons can lead to loss of inter-district playoff games, which leads to loss of revenue for the PIAA. Among the football guidelines, the sideline box for teams is extended to the 10-yard lines, giving players more room to stand. Those two counties now have case rates of 568 and 538 per 100,000 residents. Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. High school sports in Pennsylvania are now permitted to move forward as planned in the fall, and the PIAA — the governing body ... plans for the 2020 fall sports season. Case rates should decline through the spring and the vaccine will be more widely available as we get into April/May/June. The PIAA dropped the COVID ball. “We’ve tried to incorporate their suggestions into the guidelines we’ve developed,” he said. Work backward in figuring out the seasons. Twenty counties have more than 400 cases per 100,000, not even close to 100 case benchmark. North Allegheny assistant coach Kevin Thompson works with players during practice on Thursday, July 2, 2020, in McCandless. How do we move forward in the face of the PIAA’s failure to take strong proactive leadership steps? The numbers are alarming. Gov. Superintendents and school boards are listening to infectious disease experts in responding to the pandemic. Additionally, PIAA leadership believes deeply in the importance of athletics to the well-being of student athletes. Fall sports will start Aug. 10 with heat acclimatization for football. To the surprise of many, the PIAA board failed to take a public vote on the most important issue facing high school athletics in the state — whether or not winter sports should be postponed. Missed regular-season games can be recorded as “no contest” rather than forfeits, if the schools and PIAA district committee agree. A. PIAA does not anticipate any modifications to the meeting requirements for fall sports officials for the 2020-2021 school year. The PIAA guidelines say spectators from different households must be 6 feet apart. Joseph Roy is superintendent of the Bethlehem Area School District. "[COVID] has sidelined all in-person fundraising events. Cross country meets should consider staggered, wave or interval starts. Massachusetts — The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association announced Aug. 19 that it has approved a recommendation from the organization's COVID-19 Task Force and the Department of Secondary Education to keep low and moderate risk sports in the fall, but move higher risk sports like … But the health of our communities must take top priority. High school sports forced into waiting game due to new COVID-19 restrictions by Phil Anastasia , Updated: November 16, 2020 On December 7, 2019, St. Joseph's Prep won its second straight PIAA Class 6A football title. The PIAA’s decision-making throughout this crisis does not engender confidence that the PIAA represents the concerns of schools during this pandemic. Teams can continue to use ball boys on the sidelines, but those kids need to wear gloves and be supervised by an adult. Presently, all 67 counties in the state are in the “substantial spread” of the virus category. Fall sports will start Aug. 10 with heat acclimatization for football. The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) ruled Wednesday that high school fall sports can go on as planned. Also, teams should reduce the number of players on the sideline. But before those workouts can take place, the guidelines require every school district to create a detailed health and safety plan that’s approved by … The PIAA won’t let colleges or other states influence its decisions. The positivity rate is now just shy of 20%. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local. Lebanon. Our journalism needs your support now. Let’s take full advantage of it. The result will be fewer playing opportunities for our students. High school sports remain on schedule for the fall, but the new PIAA covid-19 guidelines approved Wednesday describe a season unlike any other. The following day, it was left to Gov. Sep 24, 2020 Lombardi said the PIAA conferred with Gov. The governor and PIAA disagree on whether schools should have fall sports this year because of the coronavirus. Combine COVID cancellations with regular winter weather cancellations and we are looking at a mess of a winter season and athletic directors constantly reacting to last-minute cancellations. “With that inconsistency between the guidelines, we cannot vote for this document.”. … We follow the guidance that has been put out.”. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. Finally, we need to admit that the virus is out of control in our state in a way it was not during fall sports. A later winter season opens the possibility for more fan attendance. © 2021 Advance Local Media LLC. The PIAA board plans to make a final decision on fall sports when it meets Friday. ... which was done in 2020 because of COVID-19 concerns. Practices for all sports begin the following Monday, Aug. 17. In a move toward that goal, the PIAA released its guidelines for each fall sport to play during the COVID-19. Time is on our side now. For both safety and the best chance to have uninterrupted seasons, push the calendar as far as possible. The 25 pages of return-to-competition guidelines provided game-day advice for social distancing, health screenings, sanitation and other topics. The information was tailored for teams, coaches and officials. Sponsorship and television rights dollars that provide great revenue to the PIAA won’t roll in if there are limited or even zero inter-district, regional and state playoffs. According to the PIAA guidelines, “should spectators eventually be permitted to attend contests, we anticipate that such attendance will be subject to some important limitations.”. The PIAA had been making plans to start the season as scheduled when Gov. That group is made up of sports medicine experts, orthopedic experts, and training experts — not infectious disease experts. By: Katherine Smith* Posted: 11/12/2020. Screenshot. The school must inform teams it previously played, in accordance with CDC guidelines, and notify its next opponent “in a reasonable time frame.”. The PIAA leadership depends on its Sports Medicine Advisory Committee for guidance. Adults must wear face masks, and they shouldn’t enter the field of play or bench areas. If the PIAA does not answer to the state’s principals, superintendents and school boards, who does it answer to? The board voted 29-3 to approve the guidelines. PIAA spectator bill fails veto override State playoff brackets unveiled for fall sports COVID-19. The Pennsylvania positivity rate is now 15% with 373 cases per 100,000 residents in the past week. The PIAA also provided detailed lists of sport-specific guidelines, such as the recommendation footballs be cleaned and sanitized throughout the game. Wolf and his administration to work with them and … On Friday, the PIAA asked Gov. Some neighboring states have delayed fall sports, but the PIAA plans to stay on schedule, barring actions from the state government. Practices for all sports begin the following Monday, Aug. 17. At the start of fall sports, the test positivity rate in both counties was less that 2%. The PIAA opted to condense its 2020 football season and hold its championships during Thanksgiving week as a way of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Fall sports are cross country, football, field hockey, golf, girls tennis, girls volleyball, soccer and water polo. PIAA board to vote Friday on future of fall sports by Phil Anastasia , Posted: August 20, 2020 The PIAA board of directors will decide whether to continue or postpone the fall sports season. Most notably, there will be no spectators, unless the state Department of Education changes its position, PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi said. 5/21/2020 - PIAA Supports Return to Play 4/9/2020, 3:00PM - Winter Championships & Spring Sports Cancelled for the Remainder of the 2019-20 School Year 4/9/2020, 9:00AM - Governor Wolf Supports PIAA Sports Shutdown Prior to the Dec. 9 meeting, the PIAA executive director received letters from both the Pennsylvania Principals Association and the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators (PASA, the superintendents’ group) calling for the PIAA to postpone winter sports. The PA School Boards Association (PSBA) also supported postponing the start of the season. PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The WPIAL held a press conference on Monday to address the plan for fall high school sports. Wednesday, July 29, 2020 | 6:08 PM. The PIAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee's approved guidelines require a number of health and safety restrictions. Athletes shouldn’t share uniforms, towels or other equipment. With all due respect to the advisory committee, infectious disease doctors, pulmonologists and critical care doctors have both the expertise and the frontline experience to provide advice to educators. But the PIAA also provided protocols for when a team has a covid-19 case among its players or coaches. The most drastic change is regarding spectators. Why not be patient, buy time, push the start of winter sports? The information was drawn from multiple sources, including the Pa. Department of Health and the PIAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. Run spring sports with a first practice date of April 29 through June 25 (9-week season). With fall sports training and acclimation activities already underway, Governor Wolf announced he wanted schools across Pennsylvania to waive the fall 2020 season altogether. The PIAA board on Wednesday did approve an alternate start date in mid-September, but that delay is optional. Face shields that are integrated into the helmet and attach to the facemask are recommended. Colliding priorities can make decision making even more difficult. By: Chris Harlan Bethlehem Area School District Superintendent Joseph Roy updated the community on the district's COVID-19 cases on Dec. 1. Walker expects a $300,000 decline in net revenue across its 17 athletic team booster clubs as a whole for the 2020-21 sports year. Run state championships in the spring. Wolf has said sports should be postponed until January of 2021. Subscribe now ». The Common Sense Sports Plan respects the current coronavirus realities, including strained health care systems, demonstrates compassion for those at the greatest risk, teaches our kids they are part of a larger community that values them while thinking creatively to keep them safe, and provides them the opportunity to play the sports they love. If removed, it should be disinfected before reinsertion. Run winter sports with a first practice date of Feb. 22 through April 23 (9-week season). As for the fall seasons, the PIAA also voted to not hold regionals in golf this coming fall, which is what happened in 2020 because of COVID-19. The state Education Department released return-to-school guidelines that prohibit spectators from attending school-sports contests. Yet the PIAA leadership fails to act and shifts responsibility to the governor or to individual districts when interscholastic sports demands a statewide solution for equity for athletes. Tom Wolf in an effort to save the fall high school sports season. July 29 – The PIAA meets to discuss different start dates for fall sports. Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement, and Your California Privacy Rights (each updated 1/1/21). Many of the guidelines were similar to health and safety plans already in place at individual schools. 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