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Section 2 announces condensed seasons

SARATOGA SPRINGS — On Friday afternoon, the New York State Department of Health released updated interim guidance for sports and recreation during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The guidance states “Effective February 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).”

“This is great news for our Section 2 and all New York State student-athletes,” Section 2 President Joseph Sapienza said in a news release. “We will now be able to achieve our goal of providing opportunities for athletic competition for all our approved sports during the 2020-2021 school year.

The section has requested approval from the county health departments and pending their approvals, the following schedule will make up remaining condensed seasons.

Winter Season: End Date will now be March 13, 2021 (Previously 2/28/21)

Fall 2 Season: March 7, 2021 – May 1, 2021

Spring Season: May 3, 2021 – June 25, 2021

(Baseball only will begin on April 28, 2021, due to the 10 required practice rule)

 

“While all four of our seasons were condensed, we are extremely pleased and grateful that we can provide the student-athletes and the school communities with the opportunity to participate in interscholastic athletics,” Sapienza said in the release. “This school year and the global pandemic have presented many challenges and sacrifices.  We know that the interscholastic opportunities we provide will bring back some degree of normalcy for all involved.”

Section 2 is also taking a slightly more restrictive approach to the New York State Department of Health guidance on facemasks.

New York State Department of Health states that “individuals must wear acceptable face coverings, unless players are unable to tolerate a face covering for the physical activity (e.g. practicing, playing);  provided, however, that coaches, trainers, and other individuals who are not directly engaged in physical activity are required to wear a face covering.”

As proof of “unable to tolerate a face covering,” the home school district must obtain and document in the student-athletes medical record a physician’s statement to the matter.

As recommended, Section 2 also is limiting all competitions to within the league, section or contiguous region or section.

Schools should not be traveling or hosting opponents from out-of-state. Schools should not be participating in events where out-of-state student-athletes are participating.

Section 2 member schools will be provided with and will continue to follow the guidance as put forth by the New York State Department of Health, local departments of health, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and Section 2.

In addition, each school district has put protocols in place to keep all involved safe and do their part to slow, if not stop, the spread of COVID-19 and any other variants.

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