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State gives approval for additional school sports

NEW YORK STATE-The New York State Public High School Athletic Association Inc., (NYSPHSAA) announced last week high-risk sports have been authorized by the state department of health (NYSDOH). Practice and competition can begin on Feb. 1 if permitted by the respective local health authorities.
On Friday afternoon, Jan. 22, the NYSDOH released updated Interim Guidance for Sports and Recreation during the COVID-19 public health emergency. On page five of the document it states, "Effective Feb. 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 Gov. 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, Jan. 25 NYSPHSAA released an updated Return to Interscholastic Athletics resource document for winter sports and Fall Season II. The full document is available online at The 78-page document describes the protocols that must be followed for high school athletics and the dates for the new scheduled seasons.
Schools are currently in the winter sports season and have only been participating in low-risk sports. If approval is given, individual sections will determine the end date for the winter season, however the "Fall Season II" is scheduled to start March 1 and run until approximately May 1. Spring sports begin April 19 and the state championships are still scheduled at this time for that season only.
Students must participate in six practices before representing their school in a scrimmage or a contest; 10 practices for baseball, football, gymnastics and wrestling. Virtual practices and off-season conditioning workouts do not count towards the required number of practices.
Section V, which includes Dundee, Penn Yan and Hammondsport schools said Monday, "The Section V COVID-19 task force and Winter/Fall II sport coordinators have already been communicating to finalize plans with membership. Section V Athletics has twelve different health departments to coordinate with and will communicate with them throughout this process. It is important to note that all high school interscholastic athletic teams are coached by New York state-certified and professionally trained school board-approved coaches. In addition, our state's governing body for interscholastic athletics, NYSPHSAA, has released a comprehensive resource document detailing all NYSDOH COVID-19 guidance (i.e., face coverings, spectator attendance, screening protocols, etc.)"
High-risk sports, as defined by the state, include basketball, boys lacrosse, competitive cheerleading, football, ice hockey, volleyball and wrestling.

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