Nassau officials to reassess decision to postpone fall high school sports as parents, students protest
For the second day in a row, Nassau residents rallied Friday against a decision to postpone high school sports until 2021.
The Section 8 Superintendents Board put out a statement Thursday where it appeared to soften its stance, writing, "The opening of our schools will provide us with valuable data regarding the effectiveness of the strategies employed to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Based upon this data, Section VIII is committed to reassess its position."
The board says it will make the call by Sept. 21.
However, Jericho Superintendent Henry Grishman, one of the seven people making that decision, said a change of heart is still not likely.
"Based upon the guidelines that exist now, we are not recommending that there be fall sports," he says.
Adding to the confusion, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this week that some high school sports could resume if the districts think it's safe.
Suffolk County has already committed to a fall season.
Still, Nassau officials say they want guidelines for competitive sports and physical education classes to be the same.
Grishman says, "The governor is saying soccer is OK. I frankly don't understand how the governor can say soccer is OK when physical education classes, where kids are playing soccer, that kids have to be 12 feet apart."
Many student athletes say they cannot wait until January to get back on the field because sports could be their ticket to higher education, and if there's a delay, college recruiters could pass them over.
With infection rates in New York among the lowest in the nation, students say there's no reason why they can't get out and compete.
Michael Rich, of Island Trees High School, says, "Now the time has come to play, and we don't get the opportunity to play, and I think it's just wrong."
If athletics in Nassau County are put on hold until 2021, officials say all three seasons would still be played. Sports that traditionally happen in the fall would instead take place in March and April.
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association held a virtual conference Friday. It said directors plan to release a document by Sept. 4 to its members, which will detail what is needed to return to athletics on Sept. 21.
It says the NYSPHSAA COVID Task Force will meet on Monday to discuss and review the state guidance.