ROBBINSVILLE >> The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA)) has marked the initial step toward a fall season return to high school sports with the release of initial guidelines for summer workouts. This is formally known as the “summer recess period.”
If member schools wish, they may begin summer workouts on July 13; this phase will continue until at least July 26. Additional guidelines and specific timing for subsequent phases are pending, and details will be shared no less than two weeks before the next phase begins. Start dates for all fall sports remain unchanged, though NJSIAA continues to emphasize that all dates are subject to revision.
“These guidelines represent the first of a succession of steps toward meeting our return to play targets,” says Colleen Maguire, NJSIAA chief operating officer. “But, it’s important that we take a disciplined approach and stay mindful of health and safety concerns for all.”
Established by NJSIAA’s pair of COVID-19 task forces, the guidelines follow Governor Phil Murphy’s Executive Order 149 and are in accordance with New Jersey Department of Education (DOE), New Jersey Department of Health (DOH), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) guidelines. Coaches may continue virtual contact with players until the beginning of the summer recess period.
“Unlike youth and recreation sports -- which are operating on an accelerated schedule -- high school sports must remain in sync with our schools,” added Tony Maselli, NJSIAA assistant director. “Scholastic athletics are part of the school curriculum; they don’t operate independently. As the most densely populated state and one that was significantly impacted by COVID-19 during the spring, New Jersey is working to safely return to school more than 1.5 million teachers and students – including 283,000 scholastic athletes – without causing a significant spike. Our guidelines provide a staged approach to those schools that wish to move forward during July. And, at the same time, they give student athletes time to ease into more rigorous activities.”