For the entirety of the coronavirus pandemic, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has ruled on his own. But now that schools are set to reopen and high school sports seasons set to begin in less than a week, he’s passing off responsibility to local elected officials.
As many schools are debating switching to online classes in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Wolf announced in a press briefing on Monday that he doesn’t see how virtual schools can have contact sports. But still, he’s letting it all up to local districts to make their own call. That way, if things go wrong, he can blame them rather than having that responsibility fall on his lap.
Tom Wolf Passes the Buck on Responsibility for High School Sports Safety Amid Pandemic
“If the school is going to be open, feels it’s safe, teachers, administrators, parents feel it’s safe to reopen, then that’s a different proposition for contact sports,” Wolf explained.
“I’m trying to allow for different situations in different parts of the state because we do have some diversity and their sports decisions and their education decisions ought to be governed by what is going on locally,” he added.
This announcement from Gov. Wolf comes nearly a week after the PIAA released a statement that in accordance with the Wolf administration guidelines, there will be no fans permitted to attend sporting games this year.
However, on Monday Wolf stated that they haven’t yet decided if spectators will be allowed at sporting events.
While there are ongoing discussions about whether virtual schools will be allowed to have sports, and whether or not sporting events will allow fans several schools in Pennsylvania have already canceled sports due to coronavirus outbreaks with their athletes.
John Kosydar, the Athletic Director for Cedar Cliff High School in Camp Hill, PA announced that practices for boys soccer and field hockey have been suspended until further notice after one player from each team tested positive for COVID-19.
Another school district in Pennsylvania, Exeter Township School District announced that they would be hitting pause on their sports workouts due to a football player testing positive for COVID-19.
Today we were alerted that one of our football players tested positive for COVID-19. The following correspondence was sent to players and their families by our Athletic Director. Go to https://t.co/KUK60NH57E under the Headline area to view the text version of the below message pic.twitter.com/NoObDrEbEJ
— Exeter Township School District (@ExeterTwpSchool) July 20, 2020
As schools around the state prepare to start back up, they continue to face ongoing questions and challenges.
What will school look like, and is it possible to still have sporting events?
If so, will fans be allowed at sporting events, and if so, how many fans will be allowed at games?
Can a virtual school still have sports?
These are all questions many schools are asking and are trying to answer. And if it’s the wrong answer, Wolf has allowed himself the opportunity to say, “Told ya so.”