Fans not expected at PIAA games for now

Local Sports

Correction: This story’s headline read “PIAA prohibits fans at games for now.” The state government prohibited fans at K-12 events in its reopening guidelines in early June. Therefore, the PIAA is following the guidelines set by the governor’s office. PIAA Executive Director Robert Lombardi did say Wednesday most of the organization’s return to play plans did not involve fans at games.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) – Every goal, touchdown, and serve may be met this fall with silence.

The PIAA released more guidelines on their return-to-play for this fall, which included prohibiting fans at events for now. It’s important to note this could change in the coming weeks, but the PIAA says in all its scenarios for sports returning, spectators were not part of the equation.

This is not limited to just high school sports either. The guidelines state “At this time spectators for K-12 events are prohibited.”

Should spectators eventually be allowed to attend contests, attendance will be subject to some important limitations that were also included in the Preliminary School Sports Guidance:

– Seating areas, including bleachers, must adhere to social distancing requirements of at least 6 feet of spacing for anyone not in the same household. To assist with proper social distancing, areas should be clearly marked. Adults must [wear] face coverings (masks or face shields) at all times.

– Spectators should not enter the field of play or bench areas.

– Nonessential visitors, spectators, and volunteers should be limited when possible, including activities with external groups or organizations.

The PIAA Wednesday also said the decision about when sports will start up will be up to each individual district.

They offered up three different options, including a regular start, an alternate start, or a hybrid start.

The “regular start” would start August 10th for heat acclimation with the first practice being August 17th. The first contest dates for golf would be Thursday the 20th, and Monday the 24th for girls tennis. The first date for football would be Friday August 28th, and the rest of the fall sports (cross country, girls volleyball, field hockey, soccer, and water polo) all starting the following Friday.

The “alternate start” would involve football beginning on Friday September 18th with all other sports allowed to start on Monday September 14th.

A “hybrid start” would give districts the opportunity to start as late as October 5th unless granted permission from their respective district committee.

The PIAA stated that any sort of combination starts for sports must comply with the established preseason practice guidelines, which include at least three weeks of preseason (three days for golf).

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