By Ava Aschettino
After high contact sports were presumed to be on-pause this school year due to the ongoing pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo gave these sports the go-ahead in January, with restrictions. Deemed “high risk” by the New York State Department of Health, football, wrestling, ice hockey, rugby, basketball, lacrosse, volleyball, martial arts, competitive cheer and group dance were finally granted the green light to resume during their respective seasons, beginning February 1st.
Nassau County has its own set of rules and regulations for these sport seasons. County Executive Laura Curran held a press conference detailing Nassau’s plan, which diverges from Suffolk’s: let the individual school districts decide their protocols--meaning, the county will permit school districts to determine whether or not their schools will participate in high-risk sports. If a district chooses to participate, students must follow a strict set of rules in order to maintain their play.
So what exactly can schools regulate for their high-risk sports seasons? Nassau County districts can implement a plan of action, consisting of weekly Covid-19 testing for athletes, coaches and others in contact with the teams, and temperature monitoring before practices and games. In addition, athletes are allowed only two spectators at each game.
Nassau County’s policies are significantly more flexible than Suffolk’s protocols, which mandate schools to test their high-risk athletes. According to NBC New York, rapid tests are free of charge and administered weekly by schools.
While Nassau districts have a say in some of their protocols, the mask mandate is indisputable. The only exception is if players are unable to tolerate physical activity.
In addition, sporting events must be kept at 50% capacity, including spectators, athletes, and coaches. Non-athletes must maintain a distance of six feet at all times, and there will be no equipment shared at any time. Facilities are required to provide hand sanitizer for all as well.
To make sure schools are complying, Executive Curran warned that “the Nassau County Department of Health will conduct spot compliance checks at random schools.”
While this may not be the sport season many expected, athletes across Nassau County and New York State are thrilled to be welcomed back.
More information on the NYSDoH and Recreation Guidelines:
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