With practices set to begin on Sept. 29 for boys’ and girls’ soccer, girls’ tennis, girls’ swimming, cross country, and field hockey, school districts throughout Section I appear set to give the green light.
Ardsley, Hastings, and Irvington received the go-ahead to proceed as of Sept 22. Dobbs Ferry was awaiting a decision.
The only question mark is girls’ swimming. While there is a pool at Ardsley Middle School, most Section I teams use offsite facilities that are either closed or open for limited use.
The Ardsley School District released a guidance document to the community on Sept. 18.
“We used the NYSPHSAA document with DOH [Department of Health] guidelines as a reference to ensure a safe and strategic re-entry plan,” Ardsley AD Mike Ramponi said.
That plan, which will be echoed by all districts, includes guidelines to ensure the safety of athletes, coaches, and fans. For all, there will be safety checks and protocols.
Fans must submit to temperature checks. Players must complete a daily health-screening survey. Coaches and players must check their temperatures prior to practices and games. Those with a 100-degree or more temperature must be sent home. For road games, the visiting team’s athletic director will be responsible for clearing his or her coaches and players to participate.
During games and practices, athletes must maintain 6 feet between one another on the sidelines, and wear masks, unless they cannot tolerate face coverings.
Players must not spit on the field, and should avoid hugging, high-fiving, shaking hands, or fist bumping. They are also responsible for their own equipment, such as hand sanitizer, water bottles, and towels.
Coaches will be responsible for ensuring that players adhere to those guidelines, and for keeping records of players who attend games and practices in case contact tracing is needed.
“We will have the athletes complete the standard Covid-19 questionnaire every day at 3 p.m., before arriving to practice,” Ramponi said. “We will also issue temperature checks.”
Spectators will be limited to two per participant, with the host school’s athletic director responsible for maintaining that number. Fans should maintain 6 feet between individuals or family units. Members of a household are allowed to sit together, wearing masks.
“The bleachers will be marked for social distancing for soccer games,” Ramponi said. “We have not yet ironed out all of the details for cross-country meets, but we are working on it to make sure we get it right.”
Teams will be allowed to compete within their geographic section through Oct. 19, then travel outside their section after that date. The season starts the second week of October.
Ramponi faced a stiff challenge regarding scheduling.
“The biggest scheduling challenge for Ardsley will be [the end of] Daylight Savings Time, as we do not have lights,” he said. Games start at 4:30 p.m. Daylight Savings Time ends on Nov. 1.
The maximum number of regular-season games for fall sports is 12.
While Ardsley will field varsity and JV teams, in Irvington there will be varsity, JV, and modified boys’ and girls’ soccer, girls’ tennis, cross county, and field hockey.
Section I must decide if there will be sectional championship tournaments. There will be no state tournaments.
The winter season — which includes ice hockey, basketball, wrestling, boys’ swimming, and indoor track — will commence Nov. 30.