By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Public Schools board members voted to allow fall sports.
On Wednesday, board members unanimously rejected a proposal that would have delayed fall sports until November. Some board members said though they were initially against having fall sports, they believe fall sports can be played as long as teams follow safety measures.
The school board members say they were swayed after hearing from parents, students and coaches during a recent public comment period.
#BREAKING: PPS Board has unanimously rejected a proposal that would delay sports until November.
In simpler terms, fall sports are on at PPS.
— Shelby Cassesse (@ShelbyCassesse) August 26, 2020
Athletic director Karen Arnold, who was on the virtual meeting Wednesday, said she is happy with what she has seen at the voluntary conditioning sessions she’s attended. But she said there will need to be continuous reminders, maybe even appointing a “COVID coach.”
“It’s a difficult decision, and I hope it doesn’t come back to haunt me,” said Terry Kennedy, District 5’s second vice president.
Superintendent Dr. Anthony Hamlet told KDKA last week that his administration recommended to the school board not to have fall sports.
“How can we conceivably not have kids in school but have kids in contact sports not wearing masks? So that was the mindset and we’re going to vote on it next Wednesday,” Hamlet said.
Last week, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association voted 25-5 in favor of beginning the fall sports season on Monday.
The PIAA Board of Directors voted to permit fall sports like football, soccer, tennis, field hockey, girls volleyball and others to begin based on decisions made by the schools. The board believes if each school listens to the health and safety guidelines, a return to competition should work.
“The Board agrees the decision to compete in athletics should be made locally allowing for each school entity to decide whether to proceed and which sports to sponsor,” the PIAA said in a release.
PIAA Fall Sports Update: pic.twitter.com/RqD73jRTTG
— PIAA (@PIAASports) August 21, 2020
The PIAA previously voted to delay the start of fall sports after Pa. Governor Tom Wolf made a recommendation that sports be postponed until January 2021.
Pittsburgh Public Schools is starting the first nine weeks of the school year online.