Following the PIAA’s vote on Friday, August 21, 2020, to allow fall sports to be a local decision and in the absence of a response from Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine, the Superintendents of the public schools in the McKean, Elk, Cameron, and Potter counties will propose to each of their respective School Boards, a regional fall sports schedule with the first week of competition being September 14, 2020. The athletic directors and high school principals are in the process of revising schedules in preparation for the individual District’s proposals. The pandemic coordinators are revising fall sports health and safety plans and moving those plans forward for approval to each School Board. Per the PIAA’s position, if each school’s coaches, athletes, officials, and parents/guardians strictly adhere to the school district’s health and safety plan for athletics, student athletes and coaches should be reasonably safe to play fall sports.
Regardless of the precautions in place, there is an increased risk of an exposure to COVID 19 for participants in fall sports. Ultimately, it is the parent/guardian’s decision regarding whether their child will participate. The Superintendents and School Boards wish to provide student athletes with every opportunity to have a fall sports season in the safest manner possible.
We believe the opportunity for students to participate in athletic and extra-curricular activities is important to their overall mental health and well-being and such experiences create an overall positive school climate. We also recognize the balance between physical health and mental health during a global pandemic. School organized events that include strict adherence to protocols, wellness screenings of participants, and district to district communication affords a balance between ensuring physical health and mental health.
Each school district’s pandemic coordinator will carefully monitor the extent of community spread in their counties and school districts and will cancel games in order to ensure not risking an exposure beyond an athletic team’s membership in a specific school district. School districts will not exceed the participation guidelines per Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine. Specifically, at outdoor venues there can be 250 participants and at indoor venues there can be 25 participants. Those participants include: student athletes, band members, cheerleaders, coaches, directors, officials, game management/help, and ambulance staff (football). Spectators will not be permitted. There will be no concessions. Further, senior nights will be planned for very early in the season to ensure that seniors are properly honored. Each District will make every effort to live stream Fall athletic events to their communities, to the extent that they are capable.