Cuomo: Fall sports may resume Sept. 21, but not football

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that some fall scholastic sports may resume play Sept. 21, but perhaps the most popular high school sport of all didn’t make the cut.

Football and volleyball are not on the approved list to play games this fall.

“Schools will be coming back, there’ll be a little bit of a period to gauge what’s happening and Sept. 21,they can start ot practice and play all across the state,” Mr. Cuomo said at a media briefing on Long Island Monday.

Sports that will be permitted to resume practice and play Sept. 21 include tennis, soccer, cross country, field hockey and swimming, according to the governor’s presentation. They will be required to follow COVID-19 protocols established by the state Department of Health.

The governor also said there will be no travel practice or play allowed outside of a school’s region until Oct. 19.

“We’re doing this in phases,” Mr. Cuomo said. “We want to see what the effect is, we want to see how it works. Schools opening in general is a big question mark.”

In the Riverhead School District, all sports have been canceled for 2020-21 due to budget restrictions, but the announcement was received positively in other districts.

“I’m so excited!” said Shoreham-Wading River girls soccer coach Adrian Gilmore. “I’ve been going back and forth with it so much because you want to be safe.”

Ms. Gilmore who has been coaching for a decade called this summer an odd one with no summer league.

“I feel like we’re in a much better place now than we were in the spring with numbers and being safe, but I feel like we’re on the right track,” she said.

Her top priority will be making sure the kids are well-conditioned given the long pause and quick start.

Earlier this month, Gov. Cuomo announced schools would be permitted to reopen in the fall due to low COVID-19 infection rates statewide.

The governor reported Monday that the state is averaging an infection rate of 0.66% — the lowest to date — and has maintained an infection rate of less than 1% for 17 straight days.

“The numbers are good all across the state,” Mr. Cuomo said. 

There were 482 coronavirus hospitalizations, 120 ICU patients and 7 deaths reported statewide Sunday, officials said.

Higher risk sports that include full physical contact: football, rugby and ice hockey, may practice, Mr. Cuomo said, but are not authorized to resume competitive play at this point. Wrestling, a winter sport, has also not yet been approved.

On Long Island, officials reported an infection rate of 0.6% Sunday, a metric that continues to be tracked. Mr. Cuomo said caution flags are raised in the Western New York region, where a rolling five-day average soared to 63, up from 34 new cases last week.

He pointed to infection clusters at steel and food processing plants, new nursing home cases and testing of seasonal farm laborers as possible causes for the increase.

Mr. Cuomo also announced that new testing sites will be set up at JFK and LaGuardia airports for incoming out-of-state passengers.