NJSIAA Update: No Change to Start of Fall Sports Season; Practices Can Likely Resume Mid-July
New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Chief Operating Officer Colleen Maguire on Friday released a number of updates regarding the return of high school sports.
Chief among those was the summer recess period, which has still not been finalized but will begin no early than July 13. The summer recess period marks when coaches can have in-person contact with the players on their team. Coaches will continue to be limited to virtual contact with their student-athletes until the official start of the summer recess period. Maguire said the NJSIAA expects to have guidelines available to its member schools before June 19.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced that organized sports can resume on June 22 but high school sports cannot begin until after June 30, which is the final day of the 2019-2020 academic year.
The biggest question on the collective mind of the high school sports community is will and when the fall season will happen. The NJSIAA announced that, as of Friday, it is not adjusting or moving any start dates for the fall season.
An update from the COVID-19 Medical Advisory Task Force reiterated that its final recommendations will be based on directives from the Governor’s Office, the Department of Health and the Department of Education. While other states have begun to reopen in ways New Jersey has not yet, including high school sports, Medical Advisory Task Force Chair Mary Liz Ivins cautioned that New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the country and therefore faces unique challenges. Their guiding principles include the need to screen for symptoms, social distancing, hand hygiene and strategies to decrease the exposure to respiratory droplets.
The NJSIAA is anticipating that a waiver will be in place for any student-athlete who had a pre-participation examination (physical) during the 2019-2020 school. Legislation was introduced to the NJ Senate on June 4 that would waive the PPE requirement for any athlete that received a physical during 2019-2020 for participation in the fall season only. Winter and spring athletes will likely have to submit a PPE prior to their respective seasons.
Classifications for fall sports will be delayed until the summer, most likely August, since the Department of Education has yet to release its enrollment report based on 2019 data. The report is expected to be released by the end of June.