The Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association (DIAA) Board of Directors voted Thursday on its plans for the 2020-21 sport seasons. The board voted to delay the start of sport seasons with a condensed season model that will begin in December.
DIAA will work with member school administrators, athletic directors, sport committees, athletic trainers and DIAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee on specific season start dates.
Governor Carney announced on Tuesday that Delaware schools may open under the state’s Scenario 2 hybrid model with a mix of in-person and remote instruction, with significant safety precautions to limit transmission of COVID-19.
Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) representative Dana Carr joined today’s meeting to share DPH guidance on high-risk sports. Carr noted that football and wrestling are not included in DPH’s sport-specific guidance and are not approved to be played at this time. DIAA will continue to work with DPH during the COVID-19 pandemic to revisit guidance and sport-specific guidelines.
The DIAA’s Return to Play plan designates the winter season to begin in December, the fall season in mid-February 2021 and the spring season in mid-April 2021. The exact start dates will be decided upon at the September DIAA Board of Directors meeting.
Emergency Regulation 1010 was also modified and approved by the DIAA Board of Directors. Specifically, the board decided that the DIAA and its member schools will be in Stage 2 of the reopening plan, which is subject to the State Board of Education’s approval. The State Board of Education’s next meeting date will be on Friday, August 14th.
In Stage 2 of the DIAA Return to Play plan, coaches will be permitted to provide out-of-season instruction to their players, which includes conducting open gyms and conditioning programs. No formal practices or competitions will be allowed until the Return to Play plan enters Stage 3. The motion to allow out-of-season coaching for coaches to work with their student athletes before the winter season start in December, passed by 15 vote approval, with 1 abstention. All Return to Play protocols must adhere to the DPH’s non-negotiable mitigation strategies to assist in limiting the spread of COVID-19.
“Since interscholastic athletics in Delaware came to a grinding halt in March, the DIAA has been working to return our student athletes and coaches to participating in interscholastic athletics. We are thankful to all involved for their shared commitment to get sports back in the educational setting while realizing the significant benefit to the emotional, mental, social and physical well-being for student-athletes. We thank our member schools and community members for their patience to this point,” DIAA Executive Director Donna Polk said.