Decision on high school spectators will be up to the state

Bob Parana - Staff Writer

Area fans were happy to hear the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) announced Wednesday that it fully intends to launch the fall sports seasons on time. They were also dismayed to hear games may be played without fans in the stands.
The PIAA released the following after their Board of Directors meeting Wednesday - PIAA is committed to maximizing the athletic opportunities for students across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In addressing the COVID-19 crisis and how it has affected the 67 counties differently, PIAA understands the flexibility needed by school districts to make localized measured decisions, rather than a “one size fits all” approach in addressing interscholastic athletics. To aid our school districts who have varied approaches to their return to school plans, PIAA has offered flexibility to schools, leagues, and/or conferences to begin contests after the first contest date, as shown below. As we continue to move forward, PIAA will remain flexible in considering that certain sports may be impacted differently and post-season play may need to be modified.
There are specific guidelines for the various fall sports that can be found on the organization’s website –
Word on the lack of spectators quickly spread across the Commonwealth – leading the PIAA to release the following today - PIAA has received many inquiries regarding the ability of spectators to attend school athletic events. This is not a PIAA decision. PIAA is following the sports guidance put out by the Wolf Administration. To view this public document that illustrates the guidance for Pre-K to 12 School Sports, please click here; The guidance is as follows: Pre-K to 12 School Sports Any sports-related activities in Yellow or Green phased counties must adhere to the gathering limitations set forth by the Governor’s Plan for Phased Reopening (25 in yellow, 250 outdoors and 25 indoors in green) and the facility as a whole may not exceed 50% of total occupancy otherwise permitted by law. During the Yellow and Green phases of reopening, sports-related activities at the PK-12 level are limited to student athletes, coaches, officials, and staff only. The addition of visitors and spectators will be contingent upon future health conditions within the state and local communities. Please note if this guidance changes, PIAA will follow the information as permitted by the Department of Health, Department of Education and the Governor’s office.
The first official date of football practice is Aug. 10 and other sports will begin practice Aug. 17. The start of the football season is Aug. 28. Golf can start play Aug. 20, girls, tennis Aug. 24 and all other fall sports Sept. 4.
There are options for schools to start seasons later than the official dates. The status of area teams will be updated as the situation unfolds. Area fall sports include football, soccer, volleyball, girls’ tennis, and cross-country.