NYSPHSAA took a small step toward staging a fall sports season jeopardized by the COVID-19 pandemic Friday, June 12, by releasing guidelines for summer conditioning programs.

The NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Task Force, which met for the first time Wednesday, June 10, recommended that schools follow the three-phase guidelines established by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), provided that the district meet three prerequisites. The criteria are: 1.) the school district is in Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan, 2.) the district opens facilities to students and faculty and 3.) state social distancing and safety protocols can be met.

According to a media release from NYSPHSAA, each phase of the NFHS guidelines are to last for two weeks. Phase One includes all involved parties being screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to activity and the exclusion of vulnerable individuals as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Strict and extensive social distancing guidelines are also defined for the phase.

Phase Two includes similar restrictions with adjustments to the size of gatherings and the nature of activities that are permitted. Sports considered a moderate risk are permitted to begin modified practices during this phase.

Phase Three relaxes screening restrictions for participants, allows the involvement of vulnerable individuals and further relaxation of sports with higher risk levels as defined by the NFHS. Modified practices for high-risk sports can begin during Phase Three and contests for moderate-risk sports can begin.

Most sports are considered moderate risk, with wrestling, football, boys lacrosse, competitive cheer and dance as the only sports in the higher risk category.

More information is available at nfhs.org and nysphsaa.org.

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