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NYSPHSAA releases guidance on fall sports

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(WBNG) -- The New York State Public High School Athletic Association released a "Return to Interscholastic Athletics" guidance Friday night.

The 49-page document outlines requirements schools will have to follow if districts allow sports to return to their respective areas.

As of right now, low-risk/moderate-risk sports are allowed to practice and compete beginning September 21. High-risk sports (volleyball, football and cheerleading) are limited to practice.

The document offers guidance for athletes, coaches, parents and officials and provides health and safety protocols for each party to follow.

The document has a section for each sport, specifically outlining the necessary steps responsible parties will have to take pregame, during competition and following games/matches.

The document indicates soccer players will have to wear masks during games, stating:

"A mandatory two (2) minute hydration/mask break will be taken at the first dead ball situation after the 20-minute mark. Players must stay on the field during the break and may remove their mask as long as they maintain social distancing."

Mask requirements were not listed for any other sport in the document.

As for high-risk sports, the guidance says practice is limited to skill training with no-to-low contact. Contact may only be incidental, with close, physical-contact activities prohibited.

The document states the NYSPHSAA is working to clarify which practice activities will be allowed for high-risk sports.

The document points out school district superintendents can determine whether or not to move forward with the fall season. Sections can determine start and end dates, but the season may not exceed fifteen weeks.

Regional and state championships will not take place for the fall season, but section championships are permitted.

On Thursday, Oneonta High School and Norwich High School announced they would be pushing back the fall sports season to spring. They are the only Section IV schools to make that decision to date.

Nicole Menner

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