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Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Feb. 3, 2021 — Kicking out a very important leg from the COVID response chair

Yesterday, the National Federation of State High School Associations issued a COVID-19 statement. It was, to say the least, interesting.

You see, last May, the NFHS issued guidance on whether it was safe to have scholastic sports during the global pandemic. It had a three-tiered system, based on risk of possible transmission.

The system (or some variation thereof) caught on with school districts, health departments, and state governing bodies of sport nationwide. Many districts put heavy restrictions or outright bans on sports involving intense physical interaction, such as wrestling, football, ice hockey, and competitive cheer. A number of sports received “low” risk designations, such as cross-country, golf, and tennis.

The problem, of course, were the sports which were in between, such as field hockey and lacrosse. Indeed, there were some guidelines which put boys’ lacrosse in a different risk category from girls’ lacrosse.

Ultimately, however, the reasoning for the removal of the guidelines is that the realization that, according to the statement:

[T]he majority of sports-related spread of COVID19 appears to occur from social contact, not during sports participation.

In other words, no matter what kinds of strictures that are put on student-athletes, or whatever wacky rules changes are put in place, they do not account for the youth sports parents who go out dining, or the family that chooses to go unmasked into a resort area in a high-risk area such as Florida or California.

The regrettable thing is that a number of states have already used the previous tiered system to plan out their return-to-play scenarios in individual sports, including California, Virginia, Conneticut, New York, and Massachusetts.

I wonder if it is too late for these state governing bodies, in light of yesterday’s NFHS removal of the tiered-risk system, to reconsider their actions.

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