By Terry Toohey
The day athletes, coaches and fans throughout Pennsylvania have been waiting for since sports were shut down by the coronavirus pandemic three months has finally arrived.
Gov. Tom Wolf announced Wednesday that professional, collegiate, high school and amateur athletes throughout the Commonwealth can begin the process to return to action under modified health and safety guidelines.
For high school athletes, that means they can start to prepare for the fall season once their school develops a safety plan that meets the Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines for reopening.
Sports at every level were shut down by the pandemic in mid-March. Schools have been closed, which means athletes have been forced to train on their own without the benefit of school facilities ore instruction.
“It’s awesome because we haven’t been able to do stuff,” Matt Grapin, a junior running back/outside linebacker at Springfield, said when told of the news. “It will be good to be able to do stuff again.”
According to the release, public and private K-12 schools within the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) and the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association (PAISAA) located in counties in the yellow or green phase can resume voluntary sports-related workouts. Schools must first develop an athletic health and safety plan in alignment with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Preliminary Guidance for Phased Reopening of Schools that is approved by the local board of directors and posted on the school’s website.
Webmaster’s note: The headline is a bit misleading as the plans proposed by the governor lack a plan of action in dealing with a player, coach, or school staff being infected with Covid 19. Restarting up school sports activities and taking precautions is part of a solution but the more difficult part of any plan is what to do if an infection occurs. Full testing and tracking of all participants and fans is still not available. We anxiously await hearing the plans that deal with answers to a Covid 19 outbreak in an athletic group and/or school. According to the governor’s plan, and the PIAA, those plans will have to come from the local school districts.