The New York State Public High School Athletic Association COVID-19 Task Force conducted its first meeting Wednesday and heard reports and updates from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, the New York State Education Department and the New York State Health Department pertaining to the COVID-19 crisis and the impact it has had upon education and the reopening of schools.
The Task Force is composed of school district superintendents, high school principals, athletic directors, NYSPHSAA officers and representatives from the New York State Athletic Administrators Association, New York State Education Department and New York State Department of Health, as well as an athletic trainer and a district transportation director.
“Having representatives from these offices provide reports today was extremely beneficial to the work that the Task Force will do over the course of the next few months,” NYSPHSAA president and Task Force chair Paul Harrica said in a release from the NYSPHSAA. “From the reports provided, it is clear school district facilities cannot be opened for student participation until Phase 4 is entered. The health and safety of our student-athletes remains our top priority.”
NYSPHSAA executive director and Task Force member Robert Zayas confirmed to The Daily Gazette that school district facilities in different regions of the state could be opened for student participation at different times, depending on when their regions reach Phase 4.
"That was one of the questions we needed to get clarification on," Zayas said. "One school could be in Phase 4. Another could be in Phase 2."
On Friday, the Task Force will release guidance pertaining to on-campus summer conditioning workouts as well as an update to its Frequently Asked Questions document that NYSPHSAA released on May 7. The Task Force is encouraging school districts to get acclimated with CDC and local health department guidance as well Governor Cuomo's restrictions, local laws and policies.
The Task Force also discussed and examined the result of a COVID-19 survey, distributed by NYSPHSAA, to gather a statewide perspective on the impacts and potential response to the COVID-19 crisis; roughly 6,000 athletic directors, administrators, and coaches submitted responses to the survey. Results of the survey can be found at https://drive.google.com/file/
“Today’s meeting was our first step in addressing concerns and examining readily available information related to the COVID-19 crisis,” Zayas said in the NYSPHSAA release. “We are all focused on providing student-athletes with the opportunity to participate this fall with guidance from the Department of Health and in accordance with Governor Cuomo’s restrictions.”
The next meeting of the NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Task Force will take place at the end of this month, with a date and time to be announced next week.