Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday announced lower-risk, school-sponsored sports in all regions may begin to practice and play beginning September 21, according to a press release. For the fall sports season, sports that may begin include tennis, soccer, cross country, field hockey, and swimming.
Travel for practice or play is prohibited outside of the school’s region or county, however, until October 19.
Higher-risk sports, defined by those with full physical contact, may begin to practice on September 21 but cannot play until a later date or December 31. In accordance with the Department of Health’s guidance for sports and recreation during the COVID-19 public health emergency, practices for higher-risk sports are limited to individual or group practice, with no to low contact. The higher-risk sports falling into this category include football, wrestling, rugby, hockey, and volleyball.
“The State has done a lot of research on how we can safely have our students participate in school sports and get the exercise they need, and the guidance we developed will allow lower-risk sports to begin practicing and playing next month,” Cuomo says. “We are approaching youth sports as we have approached everything else in our phased reopening – teams are not allowed to compete outside a school’s region or contiguous region for the time being until we can gauge the effects.”
Schools must follow the Department’s guidance for the conduct of their school sports. Schools will have to limit capacity of indoor facilities to no more than 50% occupancy and limit spectators to no more than two spectators per player, in addition to mandatory social distancing and face coverings.