HARRISBURG, PA — Last week, the PA Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) approved an advisory committee's recommendation to allow the fall sports season to start on schedule this year. But on the morning of Thursday, August 6, Gov. Tom Wolf said that he and commonwealth health officials are advising the opposite.
“Anytime we get together for any reason, that's a problem, because it makes easier for that [COVID-19] virus to spread," Wolf said. "So the guidance from us—the recommendation—is that we don't do any sports until January 1."
His office has since issued a press release with more details, clarifying that this is not an order and that it's ultimately up to individual districts to decide.
"The Pennsylvania Department of Health and Department of Education today jointly recommended that Pre-K–12 school and recreational youth sports be postponed until at least Jan. 1, 2021, to protect children and teens from COVID-19," the release reads. "The administration is providing this strong recommendation and not an order or mandate. As with deciding whether students should return to in-person classes, remote learning or a blend of the two this fall, school administrators and locally elected school boards should make decisions on sports."
State Republicans are interpreting the governor's words differently, accusing him of "effectively cancelling all high school sports until January."
"For reasons beyond understanding, the governor waited [to make his recommendation] until practices have already started, equipment has already been purchased, fees have already been paid and dreams of a return to normalcy have already been formed by athletes and families alike," said Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus Spokesperson Jason Gottesman.
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