State to allow high-risk sports to return Feb. 1

The New York State Department of Health says seven high-risk sports will be allowed to return starting Feb 1. Five of those sports are offered at Pioneer.

Basketball and wrestling are the sports affected at Pioneer, where athletes are already practicing for bowling, boys swimming and air rifle. The first competitions scheduled for Jan. 28.

The high-risk sports had been in limbo, awaiting word from the state. 

"This is great news for our athletes as they can start practicing Monday," said Pioneer Athletic Director William Weidner. "They should get their paperwork right away into the health offices, or visit FamilyID."

No spectators are allowed.

According to guidelines released by health officials, participants in high-risk sports and recreation activities may partake in individual or distanced group training and organized no- or low-contact group training and may partake in games and tournaments only as permitted by their respective local health departments.

As part of the guidance, the state said local health authorities should consider the following factors in authorizing or continuing to prohibit higher-risk sports. Those factors are:

– Whether there has been a more-transmissible variant of Covid-19 identified in the area.

– Local rates of Covid-19 transmission or rate of positivity.

– Local ability to monitor and enforce compliance.

Traveling for practices or competitions outside a school's region remains prohibited.

Travel for practice or play to, or from, any area within New York that has been designated as a "red" or "orange zone" may only be permitted following consultation with respective health officials.

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association said it plans to release updated return to play documents this week for winter sports and for Fall Season II, which impacts football, volleyball and competitive cheerleading.