New York State Public High School Athletic Association Executive Director Dr. Robert Zayas.

Given the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s cancelation of the spring 2020 season due to COVID-19, the organization provided a FAQ sheet to assist member schools, providing up-to-date information related to response and rules, and the New York State Education Department’s regulations.

First, the NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Task Force is convening for the first time June 10 to examine potential impacts of the novel coronavirus crisis on the fall 2020 season and the 2020-21 school year.

“It is anticipated the COVID-19 Task Force will meet throughout the summer to analyze available information from the New York State Department of Health, New York Governor’s Office, and local health departments,” NYSPHSAA said in a statement. “The COVID-19 Task Force will review all aspects of the fall 2020 season and the 2020-21 school year related to the COVID-19 crisis, such as practice requirements, fan attendance, resocialization efforts, protocol, procedures, transportation, etc. The COVID-19 Task Force will not have the authority to make rule changes. The task force will be in place to examine available information and make recommendations to NYSPHSAA’s Executive/Central Committee, 11 sections, and
the membership.”

At this time, NYSPHSAA is not planning to make any changes to the start date of the fall 2020 season, with practices scheduled to begin August 24. Anyone concerned about reconditioning of football helmets should know reconditioning plants are beginning to open throughout North America. It is recommended to contact a company immediately.

The NYSPHSAA is planning to conduct the eligibility workshops in person in the fall, as scheduled.

The National Federation of State High School Associations Sports Medicine Advisory Committee has released a position statement on preparticipation physical exams recommending a one-year extension on all physical exams. The NYSPHSAA Safety Committee will review this recommendation.

“The requirement for annual physical exams is a regulation of the New York State Education Department,” NYSPHSAA said. “Any revisions to this requirement would be made by NYSED. NYSPHSAA Executive Director, Dr. Robert Zayas, will also seek guidance from the New York State Education Department on this regulation.”

Dr. Zayas is also working with the state to determine options to ensure coaches are able to recertify in preparation of the fall 2020 season and the 2020-21 school year.


As per the education department’s Duration of Competition Regulation, students are limited to four consecutive years of athletic eligibility upon entering ninth grade — five years for students who participate at the high school level as an eighth-grader and six years for students who participate at the high school level as a seventh-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 toward graduation have not been interrupted. Currently, Dr. Zayas is seeking guidance from the state on this regulation.

There will be no impact upon the NYSPHSAA transfer rule or representation rule as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Some institutions of higher education and other organizations that provide the Dignity for All Students Act training — addressing harassment, bullying, and discrimination prevention and intervention in schools — are no longer holding classes in-person due to the novel coronavirus, 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,” the New York State Education Department said in a statement.

Contact the Office of Teaching Initiatives at [email protected] with any questions regarding the DASA training.

Winter And Spring Sports

NYSPHSAA will provide all student-athletes who were still participating in the winter championships with a medal. The organization has also recognized teams on its social media platforms. The actual presentation of these awards has not been scheduled because of the current gathering restrictions.

Since the spring sport season was canceled before any games or contests were held, there will be no recognition of spring sport athletes. The NYSPHSAA Scholar Athlete program will not include spring athletes since the season was canceled, but this will not impact the School of Distinction or School of Excellence awards — NYSPHSAA will use the fall 2019 and winter 2019-20 teams for these recognitions. Schools still have to apply for the awards.

Schools should also still complete the NYSPHSAA participation survey. If rosters were finalized for spring 2020, districts are advised to use those numbers. If rosters were not yet established, districts will use 2019 numbers. Participation survey data is information utilized by the NYSPHSAA leadership and membership.

Summer Activity

Summer sports is not regulated by the NYSPHSAA, so the organization is advising to follow regulations detailed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s phases that businesses and organizations should rely upon when evaluating reopening.

Schools allowing open gym or weightlifting sessions during the summer is an individual district decision based upon New York state directives and Cuomo’s phase-in plans.

[email protected]

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