LATHAM – The New York State Public High School Athletic Association updated its Return to Interscholastic Athletics document on Tuesday with a new tentative start date of Jan. 4 for high-risk winter sports.

High-risk sports, which include basketball, competitive cheer, ice hockey, wrestling and volleyball, are still contingent upon authorization from state officials and the Department of Health.

“The NYSPHSAA membership has expressed concerns pertaining to the increase in infection rates,” NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas stated in a press release. “Minimizing risk and exposure to COVID-19 is a top priority of the Association. We continue to make these types of decisions based upon readily available information and communication with state officials.”

State officials will reevaluate high-risk sports by Dec. 31 to assess protocols for high-risk sports based on recommendations given by the Department of Health. Once authorization is granted by the Department of Health, considerations for high-risk sports will be provided by the NYSPHSAA.

As of Nov. 17, high-risk sports have not received authorization to play or have contact, although they may have non-contact off-season conditioning activities per the Department of Health.

While low- and moderate-risk sports are still slated to begin Nov. 30, all Franklin County schools will remain remote until Jan. 4, in which athletics will then resume.

“NYSPHSAA’s leadership recognizes the numerous challenges interscholastic programs are experiencing and the obstacles associated with resuming high risk sports,” NYSPHSAA President Julie Bergman said. “While it is certainly the goal of the Association to provide all students with the ability to participate in interscholastic athletics we must remain steadfast in our decisions to ensure the safety of our athletes is our focus.”

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