With a “Let Them Play” stakeholder coterie that includes locally elected officials, high school coaches and athletes, assemblyman Colin J. Schmitt announced this week that he would introduce legislation to compel the State Department to Education and the State Department of Health to allow all interschool sports will be allowed to play this year using the appropriate COVID-19 safety protocols.
Currently, some sports are played in New York, while others like basketball, football, ice hockey and more are not allowed, despite a majority of states including New Jersey, Pennsylvania and neighboring Connecticut, allowing the basketball competition to begin this week.
“New York student-athletes should have an equal opportunity to compete safely in all sports, as should students in the majority of states in our nation,” Schmitt said in a press release detailing his proposal. “Medical and scientific data prove inter-school sports using the correct protocols are safe during COVID-19. I have received tremendous awareness from players, families, coaches and community members on this issue and agree that it is time to ‘let them play’.
Rockland County Republican MP Michael Lawler added that “these are very trying times for many of them, their parents and teachers. Returning to sport and competition is the best way for us to regain a sense of normalcy in our society.
Tony Cardone, supervisor of Monroe Town, was among those who joined Schmitt for his press conference. Cardone has a long summary of supporting local sports, whether as a member of the Monroe Joint Recreation Committee or in his longtime role with the Monroe-Woodbury Football Parents organization, a group that raises thousands. scholarships for student-athletes.
“This past year has been one of the most difficult times we have faced in recent history,” Cardone said. “As we continue to navigate our modified daily routines, we must seek and find ways to resume activities that play a vital role in the health and well-being of our young people. This interschool sports legislation led by MP Schmitt must and will succeed. “
Pete Tuohy, who represents Monroe as a member of the Orange County Legislature in Goshen, agreed. “Interschool sports have to start over,” he said. “It goes beyond statistics and victories on the pitch, it strengthens character, competitive spirit and teamwork.”
As a Republican, Schmitt is in the minority in the state assembly. He will need the support of Democrats not only in the Assembly, but also in the democratically controlled state Senate. And if he gets the support of both legislatures, Governor Andrew Cuomo has the power to say yes or no, especially when it comes to COVID-19.
Definition of risk
New York State separates all high school sports into three categories based on the risk level of COVID-19:
Sports that fall into the high risk category include basketball, competitive joy, ice hockey, wrestling, football, volleyball, rugby, martial arts, and contact lacrosse.
Each of these sports is the least able to maintain distance, to play individually and not to share equipment.
This sports section includes baseball / softball, doubles tennis, rafting, racket games, paintball, soccer, non-contact lacrosse, water polo, flag football, field hockey, gymnastics, swim relay and BMX.
These activities all have a limited ability to maintain distance between other players.
Low risk sports would be individual running, batting cages, shooting, golf, non-motorized boating, singles tennis, rock climbing, equestrian events, individual swimming, cross country, to throw it games and tree climbing course.
These activities have the greatest ability to maintain distance and can be performed individually.
– Arthur Kennedy
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