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Pottsville Area Continues Ban on Fall Sports Practices on Campus

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Pottsville Area School District board members voted Tuesday to continue a ban on voluntary sports practices and workouts held on campus.

Directors fear potential liability issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and last week, deferred a decision on these practices and workout sessions to school administration.

At that point, Interim Superintendent Jared Gerace said he didn’t believe the practices and workouts should continue. On Tuesday, following an Athletics Committee meeting last week, school board members voted unanimously to continue that prohibition until the PIAA makes a decision on a Fall high school sports season later this week.

READ: Pottsville Area School District Approves Blended Reopening for 2020-2021 Term

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Pottsville Area School District Continues Ban on On-Campus Voluntary Practices and Workouts

At Tuesday’s regularly scheduled board meeting, directors voted to formally adopt a “blended” school reopening plan. But they also voted to continue the administration’s ban on voluntary sports practices and workouts pending that PIAA decision.

The PIAA balked at moving forward with the Fall high school sports season in Pennsylvania after Gov. Tom Wolf surprised everyone by publicly stating an ominous “recommendation” on Fall sports. In fact, Wolf said he doesn’t believe any sports – be they in the PIAA or at the club level – should be played until Jan. 1, 2021.

However, since making that statement and walking out of a press conference, Wolf has reiterated this feelings but also says it was just a recommendation, not an order or mandate.

Still, the PIAA wanted to talk to Wolf and assure him that it could safely host a Fall sports season. Wolf, though, was not interested in negotiating and said he didn’t read a letter the PIAA sent him on the subject.

The last formal decision PIAA made on Fall sports was to postpone the start of mandatory workouts and practices for 2 weeks, until Aug. 24. PIAA’s Board of Directors is set to meet and likely determine the fate of Fall sports on Aug. 21.

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PIAA has indicated since postponing the start of the season that it will still move forward with Fall sports, bar any last-minute interjection from Wolf.

In a statement issued on Aug. 14, PIAA Executive Director Robert Lombardi said, “We will continue to be advocates for athletic activities that promote the health, and safety, social, emotional, and mental well-being of student-athletes. Since March, PIAA has taken a measured approach in a step-by-step basis to assist our membership in developing Return to Competition Guidelines that will assist in providing schools with a framework to develop best practices for a safe return to play.”

Until that decision happens on Friday, however, practices and workouts on-campus at Pottsville Area are off.

For more from this meeting, check out the full video and notes from The Canary: WATCH: Pottsville Area School Board Meeting – August 18, 2020

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