Outdoor Sports

Section 9 COVID protocols spectators allowed masking indoors

Fans watch from the bleachers during a Section 9 football game at Marlboro High School on March 30, 2021. Marlboro defeated Burke Catholic in overtime 13-7.

Spectators will be permitted at Section 9 athletic contests this fall, but the rest of the COVID-19 protocols will still be in place.

The Section 9 Protocol Committee released its guidelines on Thursday, ahead of the start of athletic competition beginning next week. Despite the recent guidance from the New York State Education Department that only panicked fans and athletes alike, all sports will move forward with competition, including the “high risk” sport of football.

Outdoor sports will not require masks for players, coaches, site personnel, officials and spectators – this goes for sports such as football, soccer, cross country, tennis and field hockey. Studies have concluded that transmission of the COVID-19 virus is not as likely in outdoor settings.

The protocols remain the same from earlier this year with masks required for indoor sports such as volleyball, girls swimming and indoor cheerleading competitions. All players, coaches, site personnel, officials and spectators must wear masks. Swimmers must wear masks except when in the pool.

Fans watch from the bleachers during a Section 9 football game at Wallkill High School on March 19, 2021.

Section officials remind everyone that proper social distancing should be observed, especially for fans.

Section 9 will release further guidance for the winter and spring seasons later in the school year. All guidelines are subject to change based on any future mandates from the governor’s office, the State Department of Health, the local county departments of health, the State Education Department or the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. Individual school districts may also set their own guidelines.

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