Westfield School Committee green-lights high school sports fall season

WESTFIELD – There will be a high school sports fall season in the City of Westfield in 2020, following unanimous approval by the Westfield School Committee Wednesday evening.
The city’s School Board voted in favor of allowing Westfield High School and Westfield Technical Academy to play sports this fall. The motion passed 7-0.
The approval allows for Westfield High School and Westfield Technical Academy High School to go forth with all low-risk and moderate-risk sports that the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association deems playable.
Low-risk sports, such as golf, gymnastics, and cross country have already been given the green light to begin practices Sept. 18. The MIAA is currently working in conjunction with each sport’s committees to finalize modifications to their respective sport, based upon guidelines issued by the state.
The School Committee’s decision also allows for sports like soccer, field hockey and girls volleyball to go forth with their seasons, assuming the MIAA deems the modifications made to those sports acceptable.
Westfield High/Technical Academy sports coordinator Ryan Dunphy expressed his enthusiasm over the decision.
“We are excited to have the kids back on the playing surfaces on September 18th,” Dunphy said, following Wednesday night’s School Committee meeting. “We are excited to move forward with preparations on low-risk sports, excited for the start of the season, and waiting in anticipation of the modifications for moderate-risk sports.”
The hiring of all fall coaches is now expected in the coming days.
Based on recommendations from their COVID-19 Task Force, the MIAA recently approved a high school sports year for 2020-21, creating a Fall Sports II, or “floating season (Feb. 22-April 25), for football, cheerleading and any other fall sport that is unable to adopt modifications necessary to go forth with those sports.
The fall 2020 season is expected to take place from Sept. 18 through Nov. 20 without any MIAA-sponsored postseason. It is still possible that the Pioneer Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference could hold postseason competition if schools agree to it.
The winter season, which involves the sports of basketball, ice hockey, wrestling, indoor track and field, alpine skiing, winter cheer, dance, and swimming and diving, will be held Nov. 30-Feb. 21, 2021.
Although football and cheerleading will not take place until late February, football coaches are now allowed to have interaction with their players in the offseason due to the COVID-related circumstances after the MIAA waived coach-player restrictions at their most recent meeting.
Spring sports, which includes baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis, boys volleyball, and outdoor track and field will run from April 26-July 3.
If any participating team, school or community has an outbreak, the MIAA will allow for some flexibility to postpone or resume activities once it is deemed safe by health, school, and city officials.
Schedules for the upcoming fall season are expected some time in mid-to-late September.
Several rules and guidelines will be instituted in regards to games to ensure the safety for players, coaches and fans, according to Dunphy. All spectators will be required to wear masks, he said.

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