NYSPHSAA Return to Interscholastic Athletics Resource Document 2020-21 (updated 1/12/21)
Given the unprecedented events during Spring 2020 due to COVID-19, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association would like to provide the following FAQs to assist member schools with up to date information related to NYSPHSAA’s response, rules and NYSED regulations.
NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Response
Q: What is NYSPHSAA doing to address the ongoing COVID-19 crisis?
A: The NYSPHSAA continues to work with state officials in response to the COVID-19 crisis. NYSPHSAA has also established a COVID-19 Task Force with member representatives to examine the impact of the virus and provide guidance and recommendations to NYSPHSAA member schools. The Task Force is comprised of NYSPHSAA staff, superintendents, athletic directors, principals, section executive directors, and athletic trainers within the NYSPHSAA membership. NYSPHSAA staff and sport coordinators continue to analyze rules for each sport it sponsors to determine additional safety guidelines to minimize risk.
Q: Where is the best source of information for interscholastic athletics related to the COVID-19 crisis?
A: The NYSPHSAA has created a dedicated page on its website to provide up-to-date information related to the COVID-19 crisis. The website link can be found HERE.
Q: Who has the authority to amend or change the state issued guidance related to interscholastic athletics?
A: State Officials (New York State Department of Health, New York State Education Department) are the only entities that have the authority to modify, amend or revise the guidance provided to schools. NYSPHSAA is required to follow state issued guidance. NYSPHSAA only has the authority to amend NYSPHSAA rules or regulations.
Q: How often is the NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Task Force meeting?
A: The Task Force meets as needed to ensure the most updated information can be examined and reviewed. The Task Force has met on June 10, June 30, July 16, August 25, August 31 and November 17. The committee will continue to meet as concerns arise during the 2020-21 school year.
Q: How will NYSPHSAA decisions be made moving forward?
A: Based upon NYSDOH guidance, membership concerns, and readily available information, NYSPHSAA Officers, NYSPHSAA Executive/Central Committees, and NYSPHSAA Staff will be part of the decisionmaking process. The NYSPHSAA Officers have the authority, as per the NYSPHSAA constitution, to approve recommendations as needed.
Eligibility Standards & NYSED
Q: If a student is fully remote, are they eligible to participate in interscholastic athletics?
A: According to the New York State Education Department, a student may participate in interscholastic athletics if he/she is taking three courses plus physical education (Bona Fide Student) regardless of the education platform being utilized (fully remote, hybrid, etc.). [See NYSED September 1, 2020 MEMO in Attachments]
Q: Do students need a physical exam to participate in the Winter interscholastic athletic season?
A: NYSED waived the physical exam requirement for students for the 2020-21 school year. if they have previously had a health examination for school attendance in the 2018-2019 or 2019-2020 school years and provide a current health history completed and signed by their parent/guardian within 30 days of the start of the season, unless a current health examination is deemed necessary by the school district’s director of school health services (medical director).
Q: Has the NYSPHSAA Transfer Rule been amended or revised because of the COVID-19 crisis?
A: There have been no revisions to the current NYSPHSAA Transfer Rule.
Q: Has the NYSED Athletic Placement Process (APP) been modified or revised as a result of the COVID19 crisis Testing?
A: No revisions have been made to the APP. According to the New York State Education Department, students must complete all components of the Athletic Placement Process (APP) including a current physical, maturation test and physical fitness test.
Q: Has the NYSED recommended any revisions to the Health History update?
A: No revisions have been recommended for the Health History update form. According to the New York State Education Department, all students are required to provide the school district an updated health history form if they have not had an updated physical within 30 days of the season.
Q: Will students be provided additional years of eligibility because of the COVID-19 crisis?
A: As per the New York State Education Department’s Duration of Competition Regulation, students are limited to 4 consecutive years of athletic eligibility upon entering the 9th grade (5 years for students who participate at the high school level as an 8th grader and 6 years for students who participate at the high school level as a 7th grader). Students are able to apply for an extension of eligibility, as per the regulation, if the student experiences an illness, accident or social/ emotional condition which causes the student to miss a semester of eligibility AND the illness, accident or social/ emotional condition requires the student to take additional semesters to graduate. The current interpretation is students who repeat a grade because of the COVID-19 crisis would not be candidates for an extension of eligibility since school has continued to occur and credits towards graduation have not been interrupted.
Q: Can DASA training be conducted online?
A: On March 20, 2020, the NYSED provided the following guidance on DASA training:
“Some institutions of higher education and other organizations that provide the six clock hour Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) training are no longer holding classes in-person due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency, preventing them from conducting the required minimum three clock hours of face-to-face instruction in the DASA training.
To allow DASA training to continue, all approved DASA training providers, and institutions of higher education that include the DASA training in their educator preparation program curricula, may offer the DASA training entirely online during the time period of the state of emergency in New York State for the COVID-19 virus.
Contact the Office of Teaching Initiatives at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions regarding the DASA training.” [See NYSED March 20, 2020 MEMO in Attachments]
Q: Have NYSED coaching certification requirements been amended because of the COVID-19 crisis?
A: Yes. NYSED’s June 23rd memo states:
“All coaches of extracurricular sports must complete a sport-specific theory and techniques of coaching course within five years of their initial appointment as a coach. One of the requirements in this course is an internship experience. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, coaches are currently not able to complete the internship experience in-person with P-12 students, mentors, and/or supervisors given the closures of schools, sports teams, and other athletics settings.
For the internship experience during Summer 2020, we encourage course instructors to provide opportunities for coaches to work with P-12 students, mentors, and supervisors in-person or virtually using distance education instructional methods and technologies, wherever possible. If this type of interaction is not possible for the entire experience, course instructors may supplement the internship experience with alternative methods of instruction. However, the internship must include some virtual and/or in-person interaction with P-12 students.
Alternative methods of instruction must ensure that the coaches develop the knowledge and skills expected during internship experience. Examples of alternative methods of instruction include, but are not limited to, simulations, video case studies, and other coaching exercises.” [See NYSED June 23, 2020 MEMO in Attachments]
A second, December 8th NYSED memo states:
"Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, current and prospective coaches may not be able to maintain or gain first aid and CPR/AED certification, respectively, with certification courses not being held in-person. Given the lack of in-person certification courses, the Department is providing the following additional flexibility regarding the first aid and CPR/AED certification requirements for coaches.
Extension. Current coaches who previously earned first aid and/or CPR/AED certification through a course from a NYSED-approved provider, and whose certification expires between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2021, will have the certification expiration date extended to April 30, 2021. If opportunities for inperson certification courses are not available by April 30th, the Department will revisit the extension and provide a new expiration date. Coaches who earned first aid and/or CPR/AED certification through NYSED-approved courses offered by a national provider would not have the certification expiration date extended by NYSED, and must update their first aid and/or CPR/AED certification per certifying agency requirements. For coaches who earned first aid and/or CPR/AED certification through American Red Cross course(s), possible certificate extensions are described on the American Red Cross COVID-19 Guidance webpage.
Online Content. For first aid and/or CPR/AED certification courses from a NYSED-approved provider, the content can continue to be taught either online and/or in-person. However, candidates must demonstrate their (psychomotor) skills in-person to earn first aid and/or CPR/AED certification. Candidates who complete NYSED-approved first aid and/or CPR/AED certification courses offered by a national provider must complete their first aid and/or CPR/AED certification per certifying agency requirements." [See NYSED December 8, 2020 MEMO in Attachments]
Winter 2020-2021 Season
Q: When can high risk Winter sports start practicing and competing?
A: State officials have not provided authorization for high risk winter sports to begin play. NYSPHSAA has established January 4th as the scheduled start date for high risk winter sports.
Winter sports must abide by the NYSDOH guidance on high risk sports; no games may be played until additional authorization is provided. See pages 6-7 for information on off-season conditioning activities.
The decision to conduct off-season conditioning activities is determined by the individual school districts.
Q: When can low/ moderate risk Winter sports start practicing and competing?
A: State officials have provided authorization for low/ moderate risk winter sports to begin play. NYSPHSAA has established November 30th as the official start date for low/ moderate risk sports. Some Sections have delayed this start date.
Q: Will there be Regionals and State Championships during the Winter Season?
A: Yes, however it is subject to change.
Fall Sports Season II
Q: What is the Fall Sports Season II?
A: The NYSPHSAA officers approved the creation of an additional season (Fall Sports Season II) to commence on March 1, 2021 to provide high risk fall sports (competitive cheer, football and volleyball) the opportunity to participate in a season. The sections have the responsibility to determine season end dates, however the NYSPHSAA officers have recommended the season end on May 1, 2021.
Q: Has the NYSPHSAA Seven Consecutive Day Rule been waived?
A: The Seven Consecutive Day Rule has been waived for the entire Fall Sports Season II.
Q: Will there be Regionals and State Championships for Fall Season II?
A: No; NYSPHSAA Regionals and State championship events will not be for Fall Season II.
Q: Can sections host a Sectional Championship for Fall Season II?
A: Yes; sections can host a Sectional Championship for Fall Season II.
Q: Will Modified and Junior Varsity athletics be permitted for Fall Season II?
A: The hosting of interscholastic athletics during Fall Season II is at the sole discretion of the individual school district.
Q: When can Fall Sports Season II start practicing and competing?
A: NYSPHSAA announced March 1st has been approved as the scheduled Fall Sports Season II start date. Fall Sports Season II sports must abide by the NYSDOH guidance on high risk sports; no games may be played until additional authorization is provided. See pages 6-7 for information on off-season conditioning activities. The decision to conduct off-season conditioning activities is determined by the individual school districts.
Q: Can a student participate in the traditional Fall season, Winter season, Fall Sports Season II and the Spring season?
A: Yes, a student may participate in all four seasons during the 2020-2021 school year assuming they meet all NYSPHSAA and NYSED eligibility requirements.
Q: Will the NYSPHSAA practice requirements be adjusted for the Fall Sports Season II?
A: No, students may represent their school after six practices in all sports with the exception of football and gymnastics which will require 10 practices.
Q: Can other sports be added to the Fall Sports Season II?
A: Other sports seasons may be added to Fall Sports Season II; this would be at the discretion of the individual sections.
Q: There appears to be a two week overlap between Fall Sports Season II and the Spring sports season. Can students participate in both seasons and will any practices carryover?
A: Sections may allow students to participate in both seasons. The NYSPHSAA officers approved allowing three practices for all sports (4 for baseball) to carryover to the Spring sports season.
Spring 2021 Season
Q: When can Spring sports start practicing and competing?
A: NYSPHSAA announced April 19th has been approved as the official Spring sports start date. See pages 6-7 for information on off-season conditioning activities. The decision to conduct off-season activities is determined by the individual school districts.
Boys Lacrosse is the only spring sport categorized at high risk by the NYSDOH. At this time, high risk sports have not been provided authorization to begin play.
Q: Will there be Regionals and State Championships during the Spring Season?
A: Yes, however it is subject to change.