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July 20, 2020

New Jersey football teams can resume playing amid COVID-19 pandemic

All sports now approved to resume practices and games – with some health guidelines in place

Youth Sports COVID-19
Youth sports New Jersey Joshua Hoehne/Unsplash

Football workouts and games can resume in New Jersey amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sports considered high-risk for COVID-19 transmission are now free to hold contact drills, practices and competitions in New Jersey. 

This group, which includes football, rugby, martial arts, wrestling and cheerleading, was the last to receive state approval to resume traditional activities. As with other sports, various health and safety protocols must be followed. 

Athletes, coaches and staff will need to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Equipment sharing must be limited, and shared equipment must be thoroughly sanitized and disinfected. Workouts and games must be held at outdoor venues.

High school and college sports under the jurisdiction of the NJSIAA and NCAA must follow the guidelines issued by those organizations. High school sports began resuming earlier this month.

The state greenlit youth sports to resume across New Jersey through a multi-step process amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Non-contact organized youth sports, such as golf and tennis, were permitted to resume last month as long as they followed social distancing measures. 

Medium and high-risk sports were initially restricted to modified, no-contact workouts. Programs and leagues had to ensure that participants could remain at least six feet apart. Traditional practices and games resumed for medium-risk sports, like baseball, basketball, softball and soccer, on July 6.

Youth sports programs have been mandated to develop health and safety preparation plans that include social distancing measures, staggered schedules, temperature screenings and face mask policies.

Programs have been urged to establish practice groups that consistently contain the same staff, volunteers and athletes, an effort to limit exposure to the coronavirus.

Practices and games must follow outdoor gathering limits, which are currently capped at 500 people. Anyone in attendance must wear a face covering, but athletes are exempt while they are practicing or competing. 

Nonessential spectators and staff should be limited as much as possible. So should activities involving other groups and organizations. 

New Jersey allowing all-remote learning

Parents will be permitted to have their children continue virtual instruction instead of attending class in person during the upcoming school year.

The New Jersey Department of Education will issue guidance on the matter later this week, Murphy said.

All schools are expected to resume some in-person instruction this fall, though schools can develop a hybrid model that includes some virtual learning. 

New Jersey closed schools in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The rest of the school year consisted of remote instruction.

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