Section VI still waiting on fall decisions

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association task force issued guidance for its return to interscholastic athletics under COVID-19 on Friday, and Section VI has expanded on the rulings.

Section VI president Brett Banker shared comments from the organization's executive committee, lauding the task force for its diligent work on the 49-page document and for its service through what's been a difficult time in the high school sports world.

Banker noted that the VI executive committee has reviewed the guidance in its entirety and that more dialogue is coming as to what may happen with high-risk fall sports (football, volleyball, cheerleading) and other aspects of the 2020-21 school year.

"We will be reaching out to our sports chair people to answer any questions that they have," Banker said in a statement. "We will open the lines of communication further by surveying our membership, interpreting the results and determining where we are as a Section. We hope to have a clear direction this week."

Banker also added that the executive committee intends on using other COVID-19 resource guidelines to create a plan for Section VI member schools to use as each sees fit. One notable point that Banker shared was that he and the committee are aware that local districts will have final say on what plan is in place for the school year. Basically, decisions will be made on a school-by-school basis.

That last point leaves the door open for a situation like is happening in the New York City area this fall. Nassau County, which competes in Section VIII, announced on Aug. 26 that it will postpone all fall sports competition until 2021, becoming the first section in the state to do so. Meanwhile, Long Island's Suffolk County (Section XI) is still planning to get the fall season underway.

Banker closed with the sentiments he and the committee share with those who have been pained by the uncertainty of the fall season as it's Sept. 21 start approaches.

"We recognize how difficult these decisions are and there are varying opinions and strong feelings," Banker said. "Interscholastic athletics means so much to everyone involved. At the center of our focus is our student-athletes. All of us want our students back playing and competing safely. The attributes derived from competing are obvious to all of us."

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