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Some School Sports Can Resume on September 21

Mon, 08/24/2020 - 13:12
The first-ever cross-country race at East Hampton High School last September.
Jack Graves

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said game on for "lower-risk" school sports starting Sept. 21.

Earlier this summer, the governor had announced school sports seasons could not start until at least that date, and had said further rules would be announced. Those additional announcements came Monday, with Governor Cuomo saying that sports such as tennis, soccer, swimming, cross-country, and field hockey can resume. "Full physical contact" sports such as football, wrestling, and rugby "are not authorized to play at this point" but can hold practices beginning Sept. 21, Governor Cuomo said.

Through Oct. 19 schools are also restricted to playing games within the geographic regions the state previously designated during the Covid-19 reopening process, meaning Long Island teams can only play other Long Island teams. In the past, teams could schedule non-league games or scrimmages pretty much wherever it was possible to do so -- or even out-of-state at national tournaments.

Joe Vas, the athletic director for the East Hampton School District, said Monday that he had not yet seen the governor's announcement but said, "We have to follow guidelines."

"I'm not sure what Section XI is going to do at this point," he said, referring to the county association that governs school sports. "I would imagine that the New York Public High School Athletic Association will look at it."

Vas said he has not heard from any student-athletes "other than disappointment that there were no sports" last year.

Governor Cuomo said that like other aspects of recovery from Covid-19, "we're doing this in phases."

"We want to see what the effect is, how it works," he said.

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