Youth sports and recreational leagues returned with Phase 4 of New York’s opening plan. School districts were under the impression they would be allowed to allow high school athletes back for conditioning programs. As it turns out, high school sports were not given the green light to return.
“I’m glad to see kids back out active, and really from our perspective that’s where we want to be,” said Scott Barker, Pittsford athletic director. “We want our high school kids to get out, be active, be with coaches, in the weight room, getting ready for the season.”
There may not be a season, but that decision and the ability to gather on school campuses in the summer is all dependent on the state’s Department of Health and Department of Education.
“The justification is that we are receiving is that school athletics on school campuses is not being treated any differently than any other school activity at this time as the reopening of schools is still under review,” said Dr. Robert Zayas, Executive Director of the NYSPSHAA.
Coaches, athletic directors, and high schoolers are obviously unhappy with the state’s silence, but Barker is more concerned about the equity of access to sports right now between students who can afford to pay for play and those who cannot.
“Not everybody has the means to access that stuff,” said Barker. “Kids are going to be left out. Just like there will be a gap in learning in the spring, the way it ended, we’re going to have to figure out where that gap of athletic skill set is whenever we get the green light to go back.”
School districts across Section V, including Pittsford, usually open their doors in the summer to allow kids access to a gym or weight room that they may not have had otherwise. The NYSPHSAA is awaiting further guidelines from the state.