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June 14, 2020

High school, recreational sports can resume voluntary workouts in Pennsylvania with health protocols

In-person activities such as games and practices can take place in green phase of state’s reopening plan

Government Coronavirus
Pennsylvania high school recreational sports Caleb Mullins/via Unsplash

High school and recreational sports such as baseball could return across Pennsylvania this summer as long as health and safety measures are put in place to mitigate COVID-19 spread.

Pennsylvania high school and recreational sports teams can begin voluntary workouts as long as health and safety guidelines are implemented to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

The guidance issued by the Wolf administration includes high school, recreational, college, and professional sports. 

Public and private K-12 schools under the jurisdiction of the PIAA and PISAA can resume voluntary sports-related workouts once an athletic health safety plan in alignment with guidance from the state Department of Education is put together and approved by local officials.

Recreational and amateur sports that are not affiliated with a K-12 school and are in the green phase of Pennsylvania’s reopening plan can hold in-person activities such as games and practices.

Gatherings of all participants are limited to 25 people in the yellow phase and to 250 people or 50% capacity in the green phase. Coaches and other personnel must wear face coverings and screen athletes for COVID-19 before practices and games. Parents should also monitor their children for coronavirus symptoms before games and practices too.

Participants must practice safe hygiene and social distance as much possible, avoid unnecessary contact, and disinfect all equipment and facilities. Parents and spectators are also encouraged to practice social distancing, wear face coverings, and not enter the field or bench areas.

Teams are encouraged to stagger drop-off and pick-up times at outdoor locations and designate entrances/exits to facilities. Youth sports organizations, leagues, and team staff should all follow and review the CDC’s guidelines on such activities.

College sports in Pennsylvania under the governance of the NCAA, including intramural and club sports, are permitted to resume in-person activities once a health and safety plan in accordance with the Department of Education is developed.

Pro sports can resume across Pennsylvania too after the state unveiled last month how practices and games can resume without fans once a county moved into the yellow phase. 

Teams and leagues that are currently in the yellow phase of Pennsylvania’s reopening plan, or if more than 250 people are gathered together in the green phase, must submit a safety plan to the state Department of Health. 

The Philadelphia Eagles reopened the NovaCare Complex and Lincoln Financial Field in South Philly with limited employees this week. The Eagles would now be allowed to have games and practices once players and coaches return for training camp. 

If the 2020 MLB season resumes and teams are allowed to play in their home ballparks, the Phillies would be permitted to have practices and games at Citizens Bank Park.

The measure, however, does not impact the Flyers and Sixers for the remainder of their seasons. Both teams practice at their respective facilities in South Jersey, and neither team will be playing games at the Wells Fargo Center once their seasons resume later this summer.

The focus of the state’s guidelines are on summer sports, as future protocols could be updated for fall, winter, and spring sport seasons.

“Pennsylvania has some of the best athletes and teams in the country and they can now begin to safely return to organized sports,” Gov. Wolf said. “This guidance balances keeping student athletes safe from COVID-19 while allowing them to participate in an important part of their lives.”

“This is another step toward reopening our state and getting things back on track. As students and teammates get ready to train and compete, it’s important that they follow precautions to protect each other and their community from the risk of COVID-19.”

Every Pennsylvania county is currently in the yellow or green phase of the state’s reopening plan amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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