The PIAA announced Wednesday that it has planned for the “normal start of the fall sports season unless otherwise directed by the Commonwealth.”
That means that football teams can begin official workouts on Aug. 10, and the other fall sports can start up on Aug. 17.
Of course, the PIAA, the largest high school athletics governing body in Pennsylvania, has already made clear that each school district has authority to design a sports program that works specifically for it. In Wednesday’s announcement on Twitter, the PIAA said “each member school has developed health and safety guidelines.”
The Philadelphia School District on Wednesday released its school reopening plan, offering families the choice of either a two-day-a-week, face-to-face option or the choice of going 100% virtual. Other districts have either released similar plans or are expected to soon.
Phil Gormley, the acting athletic director and former football coach at Northeast High, said he expects Philadelphia to release a return-to-play plan that builds on Wednesday’s academic schedule. But what it will be is unclear. And, no matter what it is, Gormley said, obstacles remain.
“Even when we get the plan, can we execute it?” Gormley said. “What happens if a player gets sick? Do we all get quarantined? Some of us? What if we we’re playing Father Judge that Friday night? Do they quarantine? All the problems that we had a month ago, we still have.
“And nobody has any answers.”
The response on Twitter to the announcement was varied. Some people supported the resumption since athletics are underway elsewhere. Others said illness from the coronavirus pandemic was still too prevalent. With the start of official workouts still more than three weeks away, others were resigned to wait and see.