Updated EEA guidelines leave door open for basketball, ice hockey

  • Zayd Sadiq, right, of Amherst Regional, moves the ball against Treyvon James-Salus, of Northampton, Monday, Feb. 17, 2020 at Amherst Regional High School. Basketball, ice hockey and wrestling are considered “higher risk” sports for spreading COVID-19 under new guidelines the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs released Friday, but there is a pathway for them to be played this winter. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 11/6/2020 1:55:52 PM
Modified: 11/6/2020 1:55:38 PM

Basketball, ice hockey and wrestling are considered “higher risk” sports for spreading COVID-19 under new guidelines the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs released Friday, but there is a pathway for them to be played this winter.

The updated guidelines will cover the remainder of the 2020-21 school year, “unless public health conditions warrant any necessary updates,” so they will also apply to the final few weeks of the fall season, the Fall II season and the spring. They were created in collaboration with neighboring states, including Connecticut, Vermont and New York.

Higher risk sports can hold competitions, a change from the previous update before the fall season when they were only allowed to practice. The EEA divides sports into three categories based on the risk of transmission of COVID-19: low, moderate and higher risk. The level of risk determines what a sport can engage in, also categorized by the EEA. Level one includes individual or socially distanced group activities, Level 2 is competitive practices, Level 3 covers competitions and Level 4 is multi-team outdoor tournaments.

Low risk sports can engage in all levels, while moderate and high risk sports are permitted to compete at the first three levels: practices and games.

Of the MIAA-sponsored winter sports, alpine and nordic skiing are low risk. Indoor track and field, and swimming are moderate risks. While basketball, hockey and wrestling are higher risk, wrestling was singled out as participants can only compete at levels one and two because the sport is performed indoors and requires sustained high contact.

Masks will be required for all participants – except swimmers – during active play based on Gov. Charlie Baker’s order requiring them in public that went into effect Friday.

The MIAA acknowledged the EEA’s release in a statement and outlined the path forward leading to the scheduled start of the winter season on Nov. 30.

Now that the MIAA has the EEA guidelines, it will review them early next week and provide guidance to the MIAA sport committees to create sport specific modifications.

The sport committees will present their modifications to the Sports Medicine Committee within five school days after the EEA guidelines’ release. The Sports Medicine Committee will then present viable winter sports and their modifications to the MIAA COVID-19 Task Force. Then the task force recommends sports to be included in the winter season to the MIAA board of directors. Within three school days, the MIAA board of directors will then meet and vote on the task force recommendations and notify the MIAA member schools which sports and modifications are approved.

The winter season is scheduled to end Feb. 21, and there will be no state tournaments. Individual regions throughout the state still have the ability to hold local or sectional tournaments at the end of the regular season.




Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2020 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy