The district deadline was also extended to March 7, with the provision of going to March 8 if weather postpones championship events. I was told not to do that and that we donât have any enforcement and that it is game management.â. “Throw in Christmas and New Year’s, and we’re not playing at Whitehall between Dec. 23 and Jan. 11 because that’s what we agreed to, and there’s just not a lot of dates to play. If we’ve learned anything from the fall, it’s that the people who started earlier were able to handle interruptions easier than those who started later.”. âSeveral schools around the state are using exceptions for mask wearing. That is an individualized assessment and done at each individual school. And winter sports are held indoors while most Fall sports are held outdoors. It went either under a facemask or over a facemask and that was good, but later as the season wore on it started to dissipate a little bit.”. The last time we saw a basketball bouncing in a high school gym was in mid-March during the second round of the PIAA championships. âThey are not dangerous, the cloth masks theyâre wearing,â he said. Lombardi confirmed winter sports will be discussed further at that meeting. Lombardi said the PIAA is satisfied with how things have gone considering the rising COVID-19 numbers. Basketball players wear masks while practicing at Hempfield High School Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. We are pretty sure we may be shortening those down. Wyoming Valley Conference winter sports teams returned to practice Monday after a three-week shutdown and the loss of more than 200 basketball games, wrestling matches and â¦ Wearing masks during winter sports remains a hot-button issue in the state as administrators navigate the winter sports season during the coronavirus pandemic. The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association left the decision on whether student athletes would wear masks in competition in the hands of each individ. â(Cumberland Valley) hosts the District 3 Championships, so they are very familiar with running a Swimming and Diving Championships,â PIAA assistant executive director Melissa Mertz said. Wearing masks during winter sports remains a hot-button issue in the state as administrators navigate the winter sports season during the coronavirus pandemic. “With an abundance of caution, our sports medicine people have said schools have to continually evaluate their local situation and what’s going on with their schools to see how we can start the winter season.”, Lombardi said the schools did a terrific job in the fall and “should be complimented that we’re even as far along as we are.”. The PIAA also accepted a motion that permits virtual meets for some winter sports that include swimming and diving, indoor track and field, gymnastics, bowling, rifle and competitive cheer. The event ran into several challenges with the host site, which is allowing a limited number of people into its Kinney Natatorium and Sojka Pavilion. Lombardi said it’s important to get the 15 days of preseason practice complete because if there is an interruption there’s still up to 10 weeks available to get in your 22 games or whatever the maximum number of games in a season allowed in that particular sport.. “If you wait to say Jan. 31 to start, well, you’ve still got to get your three weeks of preseason in and that takes you til about Feb. 18 and you can’t get in 22 games in 14 days,” he said. As some schools pause winter sports competition until after the New Year, the PIAA is moving forward, in spite of a call from the Pennsylvania Principals Association (PPA) to … More:PIAA lowers winter sports practice minimum to â¦ PIAA is leaving enforcement of wearing masks by players and coaches up to each school. Storm stages a comeback to kick off an uncertain week of weather in the Lehigh Valley, with 3 to 6 inches expected, South Whitehall public works employees go on strike amid contract negotiations, Was the Allentown teacher suspended after attending ‘Stop the Steal’ rally within his rights? When you’re talking about a swimmer turning his or her head and grabbing oxygen, we could have some serious medical complications if we don’t have an exception in swimming.”, Whitehall High School athletic director and District 11 chairman Bob Hartman, whose facility will host district championship games on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and the state championships in field hockey on Saturday, said: “You may see kids with masks on while playing in these games and that’s OK.”. The recent expiration of Pennsylvania Gov. To mask or not to mask, that’s the question players are facing as they approach this weekend’s district and state football playoffs. “We’ve got a serious issue when it comes to swimming,” said Melissa Mertz, the PIAA’s assistant executive director. Require the consistent and correct use of masks, by making sure that staff, athletes, and spectators are covering their noses and mouths. “I understand the principles of health and safety. The PIAA on Wednesday reaffirmed its stance that winter high school sports in the state are on as scheduled. In our league and many across the state, masks are required. “The number of days available to kids is quite minimal and I just don’t want to see us reduce it further by making them practice for three days before they can return to play if they’re shut down,” he said. Wearing masks during winter sports remains a hot-button issue in the state as administrators navigate the winter sports season during the coronavirus pandemic. Some nonleague games have already been postponed he said. Lombardi said the PIAA is concerned that wearing masks in certain sports, such as wrestling and swimming, present obvious issues. Depending on when you start it really hamstrings your season.”. âOur position, right now, our policy mirrors the order from the administration and the Department of Health,â Lombardi said. PIAA Executive Director Dr. Robert Lombardi issued a press release Friday to answer questions about a new Pa. order that requires people to wear a face covering in public. Pennsylvania coronavirus update: 4,688 additional cases, including 1,000 backlogged reports, Super Bowl Sunday snow? The PIAA is seeking further clarification from the Pennsylvania Department of Health on its mask-wearing mandate for athletes during competition. “Each school has its own health and safety plan, and they know best the condition of each of their individual student-athletes.”. The 2020-21 winter high school sports season has arrived after a brief delay, and all six Centre County schools are set to participate. âI think it was advantageous for everyone involved that came out, especially being able to regionalize until the final game, that was helpful and washing away some of that East-West. Many area scholastic sports teams resumed or began winter sports practices Monday, and a few teams will begin competitions as early as Friday. “We have to see what we need to do first,” he said. âWe have learned some lessons from this past fall and we heard from our schools on some of the things and the changes in schedule that assisted them as far as planning and playing,â Lombardi said. ... the spring high school sports season. ... That time frame offered more time between the end of fall sports season and the start of the winter sports. He noted a couple of exceptions in the state mask-wearing mandate, including one being “If wearing a face covering would either cause a medical condition, or exacerbate an existing one, including respiratory issues that impede breathing, a mental health condition or a disability.”, “That’s why the board felt these assessments should be done by each school,” Lombardi said. All programs must complete of 15 days of preseason practice before beginning play, but once that requirement is met, Hartman would like to see teams be able to play immediately and not have to practice for three days after a stoppage. It was also agreed upon that athletes would wear masks while competing, except in the swimming pool. While in the early stages, the ideas are on the table to be implemented as early as the 2021 fall season. âAlso, our Return to Competition guidelines also do not give the officials the authority to do so. Lombardi emphasized that the responsibility falls upon the game managers and hoped situations could be addressed before a contest starts to avoid drastic actions. Doctors on PIAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee say masks are safe and necessary. Items that could be addressed at the next strategic planning meeting Feb. 10 include: starting the fall season earlier; reducing the number of qualifiers at the district and subregional levels; the completion of the season the week before Thanksgiving to take advantage better weather and the break between fall and winter sport seasons; and to not have teams travel or make arrangements for Thanksgiving Day travel or early morning the day after the holiday. In addition, the university will not be on spring break as in years past, creating an increase in the number of students on campus. PIAA assistant executive director Pat Gebhart referred to a recent basketball bulletin that gave guidance to officials to not enforce the mandate because they donât have the authority to do so from the board. Sunshine and clouds mixed. I understand the rationale. Basketball players wear masks while practicing at Hempfield High School Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. More:YAIAA to require student-athletes to wear masks while competing in winter sports. High around 45F. He also said there is no procedure or guidelines in place to enforce the rule. On Wednesday after the PIAA’s monthly board of control meeting, executive director Robert Lombardi said each school should be in contact with their solicitor to decide whether they may fit into an exception that would alleviate their requirement to wear masks during competition. The PIAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee has opposed the use of masks during competition as a safety issue. Tom Wolfâs mandate and offered a suggestion that game officials treat adherence like they would the uniform policy. Sports Arenât Fair in the Era of COVID, and Thatâs Okay. ... (WHO), people should not wear masks while exercising,... By Nate Steis. “We’re definitely going to push for some clarification. Winter championshipsThis yearâs Swimming and Diving Championships are likely to move to Cumberland Valley High School, pending a written release from its contract with Bucknell University. If we learned from the fall, by having a district-champions-only tournament we were able to get something in along with a good regular season. Limit the use of carpools or van pools. The boys and girls basketball championships remain on schedule to be held March 25-27 at the Giant Center in Hershey. More:PIAA lowers winter sports practice minimum to 10, postpones team wrestling tournament. That usually alleviates the problem. We support that. If need be, add rows of chairs. The rules were announced as part of a … The order says masks will be worn. Dr. Rachel Levine, the state’s health secretary, said that masks are to be worn anytime someone leaves their home. Hartman also said bad weather in the winter is often a factor. Luckily, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Board of Directors had decided to extend winter sports as of their meeting on Dec. 9, 2020. The PIAA is implementing strict coronavirus protocols – which will include the wearing of masks at all times, with the exception of the sport of swimming. Pre-K to 12 (PK-12) school sports under the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) and the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association (PISAA) must follow the PDE Preliminary Guidance for Phased Reopening of Pre-K to 12 Schools and the CDC Considerations for Youth Sports. L-L League schools are now requiring winter sports student-athletes to wear face coverings at all times. It was determined schools could schedule exhibition games or matches if they meet the recent PIAA altered stipulation of holding 10 practices before schedule competition. âI think there are a number of items we need to take a look at, not only for football, but in Strategic Planning as a global view of all fall sports to assist them in not only getting there seasons in, but getting them in optimal conditions and optimal facilities.â, Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9125; @sportsTT on Twitter. “An exception might be if a mask creates an unsafe condition of an individual athlete. Column / 2 months ago. There are concerns about deciding to forfeit contests when there is not an agreed upon decision regarding mask wearing, especially in playoff games. PIAA diving and swimming finals have yet to be determined. “If they can get their 15 days in of preseason practice and be ready to start on the first weekend, whether you play or not doesn’t matter, but the important thing is once you get those 15 days in, then you will only need only three more days to start playing again,” he said. âEverybody wears a mask, except those individuals that claim an exception under Section 3 of the order. Lebanon Sports â¦ Schools competing in the Lackawanna Interscholastic Athletic Association are required to wear masks for all events. âWeâre going to finalize our winter sports dates, talk about masks in each gym and our district and interdistrict games,â Majikes said. Basketball players wear masks while practicing at Hempfield High School Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. Practices cannot begin or resume until then, and with a 10-practice limit required for PIAA member schools to engage in competition, Wolfâs decree means that most PIAA winter sports â¦ There was no 5-on-5. Keith Groller can be reached at 610-820-6740 or at email@example.com. More:YAIAA to require student-athletes to wear masks while competing in winter sports. “Each school should make their own individual assessment and determination in deciding whether their teams might fit into an exception,”Lombardi said. The membership told us loud and clear that we don’t want to stop at the end of the regular season if we can get district and state playoffs in.”. In rifle, the top two teams in each section will meet in the WPIAL championships on Feb. 16 at Dormont Mt. The â¦ Lombardi said that if schools are able, the PIAA encourages them to start practicing in basketball, wrestling and swimming as soon as possible. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. PIAA winter sports opened for one day in December and then paused. Each day's obituaries, delivered to your inbox. But Wolf did “recommend” that sports not be held at all until January 2021. The first allowed date for practice is Friday. Error! Author: Todd Sadowski (FOX43) Published: 11:53 AM EST January 15, 2021 The start of winter sports competition is still more than three weeks away on Dec. 11 and Lombardi and other PIAA officials hoped to have more clarity on the masks by then, especially in a sport like swimming, which obviously could be problematic in regard to the mask mandate. An email has been sent to with a link to confirm list signup. There are still no dates set for the PIAA Team Wrestling Championships, however, the board agreed to a district deadline date of March 20. Palmerton also announced it won’t start sports until January and Whitehall won’t begin practice until Nov. 27, one week after Friday’s first allowable date for practice. 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