By Matt Noonan
For the past few months, high school sports have been at a standstill due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But with a new school year on the horizon, many are beginning to wonder if and when high school sports will resume, not just here in Massachusetts, but in other parts of the country.
As of now, there are a few states planning to keep high school sports on the sidelines until 2021, while others such as Florida and Georgia will allow preseason practices to begin as soon as next Monday, July 27.
Yesterday, the California Interscholastic Federation announced plans to delay the start of its fall sports season until December, but it is possible games and practices could be shifted to next January due to a recent uptick in coronavirus cases.
In Texas, some teams will start their preseason workouts in two weeks – that would be Monday, August 3, to be exact – while two conferences (5A and 6A) won’t be allowed to practice until Monday, September 7.
Here in Massachusetts, the hope for a high school sports season hinges on future announcements from both the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA).
Pending Massachusetts does allow high school sports to be played this year, the official start date for all athletic programs would be Monday, September 14. The date, which was proposed by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) Covid-19 Task Force, was approved by the organization’s Board of Directors during this afternoon’s virtual meeting.
As for what sports will be allowed to play this fall in Massachusetts? That remains an unknown, but guidelines for extracurricular activities, including sports should become available by early August. Those plans will also include guidance for other activities like choir and musical theatre.
Similar to Massachusetts, Maine won’t begin its fall sports season until Tuesday, September 8 following today’s decision by the Maine Principals’ Association (MPA). Games can begin 10 days later, but not before 3 p.m.