To Our School Board Community:
We have been trying to anticipate and quickly respond to your questions during this time, given the unprecedented challenges presented to our Boards related to COVID-19 school closures. On May 29, 2020, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 149, wherein he Ordered that high school sporting activities under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (“NJSIAA”) may resume beginning on July 1, 2020. Specifically, the Order states:
- High school sporting activities under the jurisdiction of the NJSIAA may resume in accordance with reopening protocols issued by NJSIAA, which shall consider DOH guidance in issuing these protocols.
- However, these high school sporting activities cannot resume any earlier than June 30, 2020.
- The provision in Paragraph 9 of Executive Order No. 107 (2020) closing recreational and entertainment businesses to the public, is hereby superseded to the extent that it would prevent youth summer camps or sporting activities from operating in accordance with Paragraphs 13 or 14 of this Order.
- The provisions in Paragraphs 3(e) of Executive Order No. 133 (2020), 3(h) of Executive Order No. 143 (2020), and 1(e) of Executive Order No. 148 (2020) are hereby superseded to the extent that they would prevent organized sporting activities from occurring.
- The provisions in paragraphs 12 and 13 of Executive Order No. 107 (2020), paragraph 8 of Executive Order No. 148 (2020), and paragraph 1 of Administrative Order No. 2020-12 are hereby superseded to the extent that they prohibit youth summer camps and sporting activities from taking place in or on the premises of public or private schools.
NJSIAA said it is aiming to open the summer recesses period on or around Monday, July 13. NJSIAA anticipates providing member schools with specific guidelines, in compliance with New Jersey Department of Education (DOE), New Jersey Department of Health (DOH), and CDC guidelines, on or before June 19. The entirety of the NJSIAA’S press release can be found here.
In response to the Governor’s June 15, 2020 COVID-19 Daily Press Briefing, wherein he set forth timelines for resumption of youth sports, NJSIAA issued the following statement:
The governor’s announcement today regarding youth and recreation sports is another positive step in our collective effort to return to play. It’s important to note however, that while these particular guidelines are instructive, they don’t directly apply to high school athletics. Any scholastic sports program is part of the overall curriculum, and so must be appropriately in sync with all other facets of the school. High school athletics cannot function independently from schools – which, of course, are currently focused on the safe return of more 1.3 million students, including 283,000 high school student-athletes. In short, scholastic sports present far more pressing and complex considerations than do youth and recreation-level programs.
As previously announced, we anticipate having guidelines for high school sports by June 19, with summer workouts starting on or around July 13. NJSIAA strongly believes that with summer workouts starting in July, student athletes will have more than enough time to prepare for the fall season.
Furthermore, on June 8, 2020, the New Jersey Department of Health issued guidance regarding Youth Summer Camp Standards. This document is important because it may apply to some of our Districts that host such Summer Camps. The document can be found here.
Our e-mails about recent developments are not intended to substitute for our legal advice to our clients based on your specific needs or requests. In addition, our guidance is subject to, and can be superseded by new laws, rules, regulations, or orders. Moreover, some directives from the Federal and State authorities can appear, and can be, contradictory or in conflict, so please contact us for assistance. As always, please contact us with any questions. We will continue to do our best to keep you updated in the coming days and weeks.