The NJSIAA’s Latest Update on its Return to Play Plan

The NJSIAA’s Latest Update on its Return to Play Plan
The NJSIAA is still very much hoping there will be a high school sports season. The organization has done its best to keep all interested parties advised on its plans. Here was the NJSIAA’s latest update that was released on July 31:
 
“The NJSIAA continues to update the coaches, administrators and student athletes on its return to play plan. As of right now, the NJSIAA plans on fielding fall sports, although it will be reduced, with the seasons, not beginning until the week of Sept. 28. Regular seasons would end on Nov. 7 and then there would be two weeks of playoffs, but no state championships would be held.
 
“The NJSIAA says will have an update on Aug. 29 on whether there will be a season but right now it is the hope of fielding a season in the safest manner.
 
“The NJSIAA welcomes Governor Murphy’s stated support for a fall return of high school sports, and we’re delighted that our return-to-play plan is in full swing throughout New Jersey. Based on initial reports, we estimate that the majority of our 435 public and non-public, member high schools are running sanctioned workouts, and by next week many will already be in Phase 2. Overall, our student-athletes are currently engaged both in conditioning drills and off-season, simulated play – and initial reports from coaches and school officials are quite positive. 
 
“But – as is the case with society as a whole – the biggest threat to health and safety comes not from organized activities like athletic practices, but from large, off-field gatherings and parties. We’re eager to begin our seasons in mid-September, and the degree of success we all enjoy in large part depends on our student-athletes recognizing that risky behaviors could abruptly end their season.
 
"Contingency plans are being developed, but we’re strongly committed to our plan and to supporting school administrators as they prepare return-to-school strategies. We strongly urge our member schools to remain hopeful and steadfast in their support of extracurricular opportunities like scholastic sports, particularly given published reports that indicate an absence of structured activities leads teens to engage in activities that spread the virus.” 
 
The NJSIAA has come up with a sports advisory task force looking for ways to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are five principles that were outlined by NJSIAA CEO Colleen Maguire on a video put out by the NJSIAA. 
 
 Ensure the health and safety of all our student athletes
 Re-engage all student athletes as soon as possible for their social emotional and mental well being
— Maxime participation across all sports and all student activities
— Keep competition as local as possible for as long as possible
— Minimize the importance of postseason statewide championships. 
 
Maguire emphasized that the task force is developing contingency models in case things change and they can’t proceed as they originally planned. She mentioned that seasons may again have to be condensed or even postponed. 

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It is all fluid, but the NJSIAA is attempting to do everything possible to give the student athletes the chance to compete. 

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Author: Marc Narducci

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