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High-risk sports can resume Feb. 1 if county health departments approve

High-risk high school sports can resume starting Feb. 1, according to guidance issued by the New York State Department of Health Friday.

Posted: Jan 22, 2021 3:41 PM
Updated: Jan 23, 2021 12:21 AM

ALBANY, N.Y. – High-risk high school sports can resume starting Feb. 1, according to guidance issued by the New York State Department of Health, Friday.

If county health departments also approve, sports like basketball, wrestling, hockey and volleyball can resume socially distanced practices as well as games and tournaments.

This would also apply to high-risk sports beyond winter, such as football, which is intended to be played in March, and lacrosse in the spring.

“We are extremely thankful to Governor Cuomo and the New York State Department of Health for providing authorization for all sports to begin,” said Dr. Robert Zayas, New York State Public High School Athletic Association Executive Director. “I am thrilled our association’s member schools will be able to provide over two hundred thousand students with valuable and beneficial participation experiences. Today is certainly a great day for the students of New York State.”

In November, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association postponed the start of high-risk winter sports into the new year. Lower risk sports, like bowling and indoor track, were allowed to start on Nov. 30, but locally have been held until schools began to return for in-person learning.

The guidance does advise county health departments to consider the local COVID rates, and assess the ability to enforce new safety guidelines, before allowing sports to resume.

Currently, the Mohawk Valley region is the second highest in the state with a positivity rate of 7.1% over the past seven days.

Oneida County officials say they have not yet assessed the feasibility of a return to play for high-risk high school sports, with the announcement having just been made earlier in the day on Friday.

Similarly, Herkimer County is not yet ready to commit to allowing sports to proceed indicating the first priority is to distribute vaccines.

County officials also indicated initial concerns with non-vaccinated student-athletes transmitting the virus during competition. 

The NYSPHSAA said it will release its own updated Return to Interscholastic Athletics recource document for winter and Fall II sports seasons on January 25.

Stay with NEWSChannel 2 for updates.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1619924

Reported Deaths: 47264
CountyCasesDeaths
Queens2073098698
Kings2060299023
Suffolk1602923054
Nassau1459852896
Bronx1411745821
Westchester1061292081
New York1012503863
Erie644141594
Richmond561741564
Monroe52122980
Rockland38138886
Orange36334720
Onondaga32151622
Dutchess21968406
Albany20620328
Oneida19583475
Niagara15156313
Broome14521335
Saratoga11796145
Schenectady10740177
Ulster9898227
Rensselaer8902131
Putnam824486
Chautauqua7257122
Chemung6408130
Oswego595689
Ontario573188
Steuben5463137
St. Lawrence538381
Cayuga533388
Jefferson472463
Sullivan468959
Herkimer4534106
Wayne442564
Genesee4372118
Cattaraugus435176
Madison380684
Clinton350726
Livingston348455
Tompkins342742
Columbia336094
Fulton327281
Montgomery3137105
Cortland311260
Allegany286981
Warren280755
Wyoming278549
Tioga277956
Greene260970
Orleans243380
Chenango239769
Otsego230743
Washington229552
Lewis204630
Franklin200812
Seneca157453
Delaware147833
Essex132826
Schoharie118312
Yates101126
Schuyler85712
Hamilton2792
Unassigned219119
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