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Schools get the go-ahead, but what about sports?

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(WBNG) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo giving schools the green light to reopen this fall was a step in the right direction for interscholastic athletics.

Owego Free Academy Athletic Director Andy Buchsbaum said the news was encouraging, but there is still a long way to go before students can return to the field.

"Anything that indicates we can be back together is obviously positive," said Buchsbaum. "Right now we're hopeful for September 21 but we're also keeping an eye on what's going on across the country."

Right now, kids are left training on their own as Cuomo remains undecided and organized team practices are still banned. Buchsmaun said injuries are his main concern.

"For me it's about getting back into the mix, getting their bodies into a situation where they're physically able to compete and minimize risk and injury as much as possible," he said.

Along with physical concerns, Chenango Valley football coach Nick Sorrenti said mental health goes hand-in-hand.

"It needs to come down to what's the best for the kid and what's the best for these kids' futures," said Sorrenti. "Sometimes with any sport it's the only way out, the way to escape."

Sorrenti said he is unable to provide any guidance to his team right now, and it would be beneficial if coaches could oversee workouts.

"We as educators can make sure they're following guidelines and we want to do that," he said. "We're willing to do whatever's necessary to make sure our season happens."

With football classified as a high-risk sport, 13 states across the country have made the call to postpone it until spring.

"If they're going to allow any sport to have a season, I think all sports should have a season I don't think it should be pick and choose," said Sorrenti.

Buchsbaum says OFA is trying to steer clear of hypothetical situations, but if it comes down to select sports being allowed the school will adjust.

"A lot of that depends on our actual reopening of schools and what that looks like, but whatever we're allowed to do I believe we'll be ready to do," he said.

Both Buchsbaum and Sorrenti are confident coaches and athletes will be happy as long as their is a season at some point this academic year.

"I think all players and coaches would sign up for it as long as there's a guarantee we'd be able to play," said Sorrenti.

"If at some point this school year if we're able to get kids out and competing for our school I think that's a win," said Buchsbaum.

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association released the following statement following Friday's news:

"We are pleased that schools can reopen and there will continue to be a dialogue about returning to interscholastic athletics. Today’s announcement is a positive one for our association and the student-athletes. We can continue to work towards getting them back to practice. We are encouraged that interscholastic athletics were brought up on the call Friday and state leaders realize its something we need to come up with a plan for."

Today, NYSPHSAA Executive Director Dr. Robert Zayas released a memo stating students receiving remote learning are eligible to play sports if and when a season is allowed.

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Nicole Menner

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