PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s the two-minute warning for officials deciding the fate of fall sports in Pennsylvania. This comes as Pennsylvania’s health secretary said Tuesday that she is concerned about the rising number of coronavirus cases in people under the age of 19.
With many schools set to be back in session soon, decisions need to be made on what happens with high school sports. And today, more clarity was provided by the PIAA during a senate hearing.
Last week, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association discussed the rules and guidelines for the upcoming fall sports season with Gov. Tom Wolf’s staff.
They say they were surprised by Wolf’s recent recommendation that high school sports should be postponed until January of 2021.
In reaction to that, the PIAA pushed the fall sports schedule back two weeks, giving the group time to decide its next move. On Tuesday, the PIAA reiterated their desire to move forward with the fall schedule.
“Based on currently known information, the committee believes that strict adherence by schools and teams to their school-adopted plan and the governor’s school sports guidance should provide a reasonably safe environment for student-athletes to participate in interscholastic athletics as currently scheduled,” Dr. Robert Lombardi said.
Dr. Lombardi also stated that he believes the PIAA protocols will keep student-athletes safe and healthy. However, the PIAA will not have any oversight enforcement if there is a COVID-19 outbreak – that would be done at a local level.
This morning, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine echoed the governor, saying the PIAA should look to what several college conferences have done recently. But she stopped short of making it a requirement that schools cancel sports.
“The recommendation from the governor and myself is that all school sports be postponed until Jan. 1, and that would include school sports, but also recreational and club sports. So I think the governor has been very clear about this recommendation, and we have been consistent in terms of how we’re describing it and that continues to be our recommendation,” Levine said.
Dr. Levine also said that despite the governor’s recommendation, there are no plans to put a ban on school sports and that each decision should be made locally.
The PIAA will meet this Friday to decide the fate of fall sports but if today’s comments are any indication, it appears they will vote to move forward. That does not mean that each district will follow through.
The Philadelphia Public League recently postponed their fall sports schedule until Jan. 1.