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September 27, 2020

Philly Catholic League reverses course, will allow high school fall sports to resume

The season had previously been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic

High School Sports Coronavirus
Philly Catholic League high school sports fall Tim Mossholder/via Unsplash

The decision to resume high school fall sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic came after a review of “all possible factors, including the successful opening of our schools," the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said.

As long as COVID-19 health and safety protocols are followed, all 17 Archdiocese of Philadelphia high schools may resume fall sports.

Last month, the Archdiocese cancelled all high school fall sports due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Archdiocese cited the teams' need to travel within the five-county region among the reasons for not moving ahead with fall athletics.

The decision was made after reviewing local and state guidelines, recommendations issued by county health departments, and public health metrics at the time. 

The Archdiocese also said that it wanted to begin the school year in a safe fashion for all students. No timeline was given for resuming activity in the Philly Catholic League.

But after reviewing “all possible factors, including the successful opening of our schools, we believe the environment has changed for the better over the past month,” the Archdiocese said. 

“Since the late August announcement, our school administrators have worked closely with senior leadership from the Office of Catholic Education and Faith in the Future to meticulously study pandemic metrics, guidelines, and school COVID profiles as part of our continuous assessment process,” said Superintendent of Secondary Schools Sister Maureen L. McDermott.

“We understand and value the importance of athletics as part of the program of formation within our high schools. We express our gratitude to our school communities for their trust and support while we appropriately deliberated how to bring back athletic programs with a commitment to safety in these unprecedented times.”

Fifteen of the Archdiocesan high schools are members of the Philly Catholic League. Bishop Shanahan in Downingtown competes in the Ches-Mont League and Pope John Paul II in Royersford competes in the Pioneer Athletic Conference.

The high school fall sports season in Pennsylvania kicked off late last month following a two-week delay. The PIAA Board of Directors voted to proceed with the season, despite Gov. Tom Wolf Wolf calling for sports to be pushed back until January. The organization has left school districts to decide whether to participate in the fall sports season. 

The Philadelphia Public League is among several leagues that called off their fall sports schedules due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So have the Central, Del Val, Inter-Ac and Friends School leagues, which all include schools in the Philly suburbs.

By contrast, the Suburban One League, which includes schools from Bucks and Montgomery counties, has moved forward with fall sports. 

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