State College School District approves fall athletics plan, safety measures

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CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The State College Area School District Board of Directors approved a fall athletics health and safety plan on Thursday that allows student-athletes to practice and start competing in abbreviated schedules safely in accordance with the plan’s guidelines.

The vote was 7-2 with board members Lori Bedell and Gretchen Brandt opposing.

Developed with input from physicians, an epidemiologist, and school nurses, the plan includes multiple safety measures such as reduced competition schedules, mask-wearing, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and temperature checks for athletes and coaches before practices and travel to competitions.

Additionally, the plan differentiates between when the district offers in-person learning and when
it’s fully remote, as is currently the case. When the district has in-person learning, all fall sports will participate in abbreviated schedules mostly within the Mid Penn Conference.

However, because football has the highest level of contact among fall sports and is defined as a “highest risk” sport, players would be required to enroll in remote instruction or the district’s virtual academy from after the first game until 14 days after the last game. This measure is intended to help protect school populations.

When the district is fully remote, the non-contact sports of cross-country, golf, and tennis will
compete in abbreviated schedules mostly within the Mid Penn, primarily because their competitions are not riskier than practices.

The contact sports of field hockey, football, soccer, and volleyball will continue to operate under the athletic health and safety plan, but without competitions outside the district due to the close contact their players experience.

The district plans to follow federal, state, and local guidelines regarding mass gatherings such as spectators at the sporting events.

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