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NJSIAA moves forward with plan for high school sports

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Sports Advisory Task Force has released its Return to Sports Plan which provides detailed schedules for fall and winter high school sports.

The dates for the spring sports season will be announced at a later date; the task force recognizes the need to maximize the 2021 spring season due to the loss of the 2020 spring sports season during the height of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, according to an Aug. 20 press release from the NJSIAA.

The outdoor fall sports – football, cross country, field hockey, girls tennis and soccer – will begin practice on Sept. 14.

Girls tennis will begin competition on Sept. 28.

Cross country, field hockey and soccer will begin competition on Oct. 1.

The opening day for the football season will be Oct. 2.

The indoor fall sports – gymnastics and girls volleyball – will be moved to a new, special season that will begin with practices on Feb. 16 and competition on March 3, according to the press release.

If circumstances change and the NJSIAA is unable to have a fall season, the outdoor fall sports will also be played at that time (beginning March 3).

Winter sports teams may begin practicing on Dec. 3. Winter sport competition will begin on Dec. 21.

All of these dates are subject to change based on guidance from Gov. Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Health, according to the press release.

The Sports Advisory Task Force’s goals were to ensure health and safety; promote participation, not championships; limit travel; and stay flexible in the face of changing circumstances, according to the press release.

With these principles in mind, schedules will be condensed, competition will be local, out-of-state competition will be prohibited (unless a waiver is granted for exceptional circumstances), and post-season play will be limited and local, with no statewide championships.

“We are extremely appreciative of the support and guidance from Gov. Murphy, Sen. Paul Sarlo and Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly,” NJSIAA Chief Operating Officer Colleen Maguire said.

“Our kids need structured activity and we believe that education-based high school sports is the best way to provide it. Giving teenagers extra motivation to stay COVID-free promotes healthy outcomes for everyone,” Maguire said.

For more information, visit https://drive.google.com/file/d/1h–GzImTZo4UGqSXswKq75e_B1GopxOK/view

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