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High-risk high school sports could begin Feb. 1

Approval needed from local health departments


High-risk high school sports in New York State such as basketball, football, wrestling, hockey, volleyball and competitive cheer will be permitted to proceed beginning Feb. 1 as long as county health departments approve competitive play within its jurisdiction, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday afternoon.

According to the updated state-issued Covid-19 guidelines, county health departments must consider three factors when making a determination on high-risk sports: local infection rates, the ability to monitor and enforce compliance, and whether the U.K. variant of the coronavirus is present within the area.

The updated guidance reads: “Effective February 1, 2021, participants in higher risk sports and recreation activities may partake in individual or distanced group training and organized no/low-contact group training and, further, may partake in other types of play, including competitions and tournaments, only as permitted by the respective local health authorities (i.e., county health departments).”

Section VIII Executive Director Pat Pizzarelli said "there’s a chance" high-risk winter sports such as basketball, wrestling, hockey and competitive cheer can spring into action next month if the Nassau County Health Department gives the green light.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran released the following statement: “As per today’s announcement by Governor Cuomo, I’ve directed the Nassau County Health Department to work with school districts to safely resume school sports according to NYS guidance. As Nassau County Executive, I’ve continued to advocate for the safe resumption of organized sports, as well as for keeping our businesses and schools open. For many, school sports are a path to promising academic and career opportunities. I’m excited to get our kids back on the fields, courts and ice rinks they love so much. Let’s play ball!”