Though a health and safety guide for the 2021-22 school year released Thursday by the state Education Department recommends canceling “high” risk high school athletics in areas with high community transmission of the novel coronavirus, Section II athletics officials said Friday that until such measures are mandated by the state, plans are still in place to begin practice for all fall sports on Aug. 23.
Both Section II executive director Ed Dopp and Section II football coordinator Bob Dorrance said Friday that there are currently no impediments in place to hinder the start of the fall season.
“Until we get a mandate from the state saying otherwise,” Dopp said, “we’re planning to go ahead on Aug. 23 with things being as normal as possible.”
“To the best of my knowledge,” Dorrance said in a text message, “all things are still a go for fall sports on Aug. 23.”
The guide issued Thursday by NYSED included several recommendations for districts to adopt, including multiple suggestions for athletic activity. Among the recommendations are COVID-19 testing for student-athletes and that “high” risk sports should be “canceled in areas of high community transmission unless all participants are fully vaccinated.”
The measures outlined in the NYSED guide are not mandatory, but are recommendations that individual districts may choose to implement and follow.
In the fall season, football, volleyball and competitive cheer are considered “high” risk sports for transmission of the novel coronavirus. During the 2020-21 school year, those sports were moved to a “Fall II” season in the early spring — as were a variety of other fall sports on a league-by-league basis — to allow them to be played during a time of lower community transmission of COVID-19.
As of Thursday, seven counties within Section II — Schenectady, Albany, Saratoga, Schoharie, Montgomery, Rensselaer and Warren — were listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID Data Tracker as having high community transmission.