HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — The Pennsylvania Department of Health and Department of Education jointly recommended that Pre-K–12 school and recreational youth sports be postponed until at least Jan. 1, 2021, on Thursday afternoon.
This comes as a surprise as the PIAA has been working with schools and organizations to plan to start fall sports without spectators. The Administration later clarified it would ultimately be up to schools and local officials to decide.
After an emergency meeting, the PIAA released a statement at 4:12 p.m. stating that the Board of Directors will meet Friday afternoon to review the situation. An official statement is expected then.
The PIAA said that they are tremendously disappointed in the decision. “Our member schools have worked diligently to develop health and safety plans to allow students the safe return to interscholastic athletics,” they said.
The Wolf administration says they are providing this strong recommendation and not an order or mandate.
As with deciding whether students should return to in-person classes, remote learning or a blend of the two this fall, school administrators and locally elected school boards should make decisions on sports.
Highlights of the recommendation to pause youth sports until Jan. 1, 2021:
- Applies to team and individual, school and non-school recreational youth sports;
- Includes competitions, intramural play and scrimmages;
- Continue conditioning, drills and other training activities on an individual basis;
- Does not apply to collegiate and professional sports;
- Gathering limits remain unchanged – no more than 25 persons may gather indoors and 250 outdoors.
The administration is updating existing sports guidance to reflect this recommendation.
Originally, it was reported that Governor Tom Wolf made his recommendation at the end of a COVID-19 news briefing before leaving the stage without taking any further questions.
The Wolf administration later sent out a release as outlined above.