Story courtesy of Bethlehem Press newspaper
By Scott Pagel
Gov. Tom Wolf dropped a bit of a bombshell on the high school and youth sports worlds Thursday morning when he ended his press conference.
Wolf was asked about fans attending high school sports games this fall.
“The guidance is that we ought to avoid any congregate settings,” said Wolf while concluding his press conference. “And that means anything that brings people together is going to help that virus get us and we ought to do everything we can to defeat that virus. So any time we get together for any reason, that’s a problem because it makes it easier for that virus to spread.”
Wolf would go on to say he recommends there is no sports played at the K-12 level, including youth leagues, until Jan. 1, 2021.
Social media exploded with opinions on the matter and tweets said the PIAA was “totally blindsided” by the news. As a result, the PIAA Board of Directors met later Thursday afternoon to discuss their reaction and released the following statement:
“Today, Governor Wolf issued a statement of strongly recommending no interscholastic and recreational sports until Jan. 1. We are tremendously disappointed in this decision. Our member schools have worked diligently to develop health and safety to allow students the safe return to interscholastic athletics.”
The statement went on to say the PIAA Board of Directors will meet again Friday afternoon, Aug. 7, to review this action, and the PIAA will have an official statement at that time.
During that time, the Wolf Administration provided a little more clarity.
“The Pennsylvania Department of Health and Department of Education today jointly recommend that Pre-K-12 school and recreational youth sports be postponed until at least Jan. 1, 2021, to protect children and teens from COVID-19,” a release said.
“The administration is 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 made decisions on sports.”
The recommendations apply to team and individual sports and non-school recreational youth sports. It includes competitions, intramural play and scrimmages. It recommends kids continue conditioning, drills and other training on an individual basis. It does no apply to collegiate and professional sports.
Gatherings limits remain unchanged, no more than 25 persons may gather indoors and 250 outdoors.