The NJSIAA Sports Advisory Task Force has announced their Return-to Play Plan for the 2020-2021 school year, detailing when and which sports activities can begin.

According to the plan, all outdoor fall sports (cross country, field hockey, football, soccer, and girl’s tennis) can start practice on Monday, Sept. 14. Due to indoor capacity limitations, girls’ volleyball and gymnastics will be moved to Season 3 with practices beginning in February.

Fall Sports (Season 1) can start practice on Sept. 14. From Aug. 29 to Sept. 13, coaches may only have virtual contact with their student-athletes.

However, field hockey and football have the option to start on Sept. 11 for Heat Acclimatization.

There will be one pre-season scrimmage, preferably with a neighboring school, and must occur any time within seven days of the regular season start date for the sport. Football teams may begin scrimmaging on Sept. 24. When possible, schools are encouraged to do intra-squad scrimmages with officials.

Girl’s tennis will start their regular season on Sept. 28 and finish Oct. 23. Post-season will be Oct. 34 to Oct. 31. Cross country, field hockey, and soccer will begin Oct. 1 and end Nov. 12 with post-season from Nov. 13 to Nov. 22. Football will begin Oct. 2 through Nov. 7 with post-season Nov. 13 to Nov. 22.

Post season will be structured regionally. Out-of-state competition is prohibited unless a waiver is granted for exceptional circumstances.

Season 3 will be used as a back-up should the fall season be suspended due to COVID increases. If it is stopped mid-season, NJSIAA will consider the percent of the season completed and evaluate if the season should resume in Season 3.

These requirements are the same for Winter Sports Season 2 and the girls’ volleyball and gymnastics Season 3.

Spring Sports – Season 4 dates are yet to be determined. “There are many variables that will affect the start of the spring season, including the status of the virus and how many sports, if any, have been moved to Season 3,” the statement read. “The regular season and post-season start date will most likely be pushed back for all spring sports. Also, the regular season and post-season will most likely end later than prior years for those sports that have such flexibility.”

–by Karen E. Viereck, Editor/Publisher

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