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Legislators react to news that high school sports allowed to resume on Feb. 1

New guidance from the New York State Health Department released Friday afternoon says high-risk sports can resume competition starting February 1.

Final approval must come from individual county health departments.

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Here’s the official announcement from New York State Department of Health:

Effective February 1, 2021, participants in higher risk sports and recreation activities may partake in individual or distanced group training and organized no/low-contact group training and, further, may partake in other types of play, including competitions and tournaments, only as permitted by the respective local health authorities (i.e., county health departments).

The Health Department recommends counties follow three factors when making a decision:

  1. Whether there has been a more-transmissible variant of COVID-19 identified in the area.
  2. Local rates of COVID-19 transmission or rate of positivity.
  3. Local ability to monitor and enforce compliance.

This news comes after several state legislators urged Governor Cuomo’s office to reinstate all sports across New York.

Senator Pam Helming praised the team effort that resulted in the state’s decision to allow high school sports to resume.

“This was a team effort and a victory for all the student athletes, parents, athletic directors, coaches, and schools who raised their voices to safely resume high school sports,” said Senator Pam Helming. “I was proud to be a part of the team and I am thrilled that our student athletes can get back to doing what they love to do – playing and competing.”

State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats), Assemblyman Chris Friend (R,C,I-Big Flats) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) cheered the state’s decision today to allow local health officials to make the call on starting up high school sports seasons beginning February 1.

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“We recently said that we were confident that the Cuomo administration, working in partnership with local education and health officials, has the capacity to ensure a safe return of high school sports. We welcome the state’s decision to allow local health officials to make the call and get our student-athletes back in their games. It’s an important step for athletes and their families, coaches, and entire school communities and we join them in looking forward to the return of high school sports,” the trio added in a statement.