How high school fall sports will be impacted by the coronavirus

After the high school spring sports season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fall season will come with specific guidelines to ensure the safety of all athletes and fans. As a part of these guidelines, all fall sports were divided into three categories based on the risk of spreading the virus: high, moderate, and low.

Spencer Goldstein

After the high school spring sports season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fall season will come with specific guidelines to ensure the safety of all athletes and fans. As a part of these guidelines, all fall sports were divided into three categories based on the risk of spreading the virus: high, moderate, and low.

Nolan Wasserman, Sports Writer

“Following New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s May 4 announcement, the [New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association] has officially canceled New Jersey’s 2020 high school spring sports season.”

With this statement from the NJSIAA, the spring sports season formally came to an end. The unusual season lasted just six days, with many teams having just finished tryouts.

The absence of a spring season is disappointing in itself, but that is now history. The only question remaining is merely: what’s next?

The answer is extremely simple, but overwhelmingly complicated at the same time. 

Ideally, a fall sports season is next, with practices beginning in the summer for the upcoming soccer, football, and other fall sports. However, amid the pandemic, this unfortunately will not occur as usual.  

Although there is still a lot up in the air about how high school sports will look, Athletic Director Shawn Buchanan is optimistic about the upcoming fall season for all of the Pascack Valley teams.

“I do think that the safety guidelines that are being implemented will give everyone an opportunity for a fall sports season,” Buchanan said.

However, the state is still far from being ready for the PV teams to take the field.

“There are a lot of different proposals out there,” Buchanan said of the myriad ideas that could potentially be put into action. “There is so much speculation as to what will happen this fall, but we are hoping that all of our athletes will be able to compete.”

Many of PV’s sports teams hold preseason workouts during the summer, but for now, they are set to be placed on hold. The NJSIAA, as well as the committees of athletic directors they have formed from across the state, are currently working diligently to get back on track in terms of starting the season, according to Buchanan.

“The goal is that we can get the preseason workouts going at some point during the summer, but there is no official start date set,” Buchanan said.

Perhaps the biggest step forward that has been taken was from the National Federation of State High School Associations, which governs high school sports on a national level, which released its guidelines in May. It called for the division of sports into three main groups based on the risk of spreading the coronavirus: high, moderate, and low.

Fortunately for PV, most fall sports fall under the lower risk category, including cross country, tennis, and volleyball. 

Be that as it may, one major concern of the community is the state of football games come September. Each game has been a large community event in the past and with the team coming off a 6-2 season, that is unlikely to change this fall.

“Having crowds at football games is definitely a factor that needs to be looked at,” Buchanan said. “The fans would be the last level of people to come back to games.”

It is clear that whatever decision will come about the upcoming season will be made after lots of thought and effort.

“Safety for the athletes, coaches, and the community is most important,” Buchanan said. “What the seasons will look like, when they may start, and what the guidelines will look like is still unfortunately all to be determined.”

Nolan Wasserman