PIAA readies covid-19 guidelines for winter, intends to start seasons as scheduled

Wednesday, October 7, 2020 | 9:05 PM

As fall sports approach the postseason, the PIAA is turning its attention to winter.

Covid-19 guidelines for basketball, wrestling and all other winter sports will be produced soon, PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi said, adding that the PIAA intends to start those seasons next month as scheduled.

The PIAA board met online Wednesday.

“As we stand today on Oct. 7, we anticipate starting the winter sport season on time,” Lombardi said.

The first winter practices are Nov. 20 with first competitions Dec. 11.

“We have a long way to go to get there,” Lombardi added.

The first step in the process is releasing sport-specific recommendations for preventing coronavirus spread. The PIAA released corresponding guidelines for fall sports in July that provided game-day advice on social distancing, health screenings, sanitation and other topics.

Lombardi said the approval process would start in the next week when the steering committees meet. The PIAA board reconvenes Oct. 28, but it’s not known whether the winter guidelines will be finalized by then.

“I can’t give you a timeline today because we’re in the process of scheduling those meetings,” Lombardi said.

The coaches’ association, the officials committee and the PIAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee also must review the guidelines before they’re ready for PIAA board approval, he said.

“We may not have them done in the next three weeks, but we’re going to make our best efforts to get them around because there are a number of groups we’ve shared them with (in the past),” Lombardi said. “Last time we shared them with the governor’s office, the Department of Education and the Department of Health, even though they wanted to disavow their involvement.”

The PIAA included the departments of education and health on the cover of its Return to Competition Guidelines for fall sports, but PennLive reported in August that Wolf’s staff wanted the PIAA to issue a clarification saying they did not approve them.

Lombardi said the PIAA intends to start winter sports on time but will react to whatever circumstances arise. The PIAA took a similar approach to the fall and ultimately delayed the start of those seasons two weeks.

“We will remain flexible on what comes our way,” Lombardi said. “We all need to be able to adapt. We all need to be able to be flexible. And we all need to be patient.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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