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‘This is difficult’: PIAA supports return to play

MECHANICSBURG — “We want kids to be kids and play sports and be representatives of their school and community.”

This comment made at Wednesday’s PIAA board of directors’ meeting was the overwhelming sentiment with an audience of over 30 statewide media members.

Discussion was held regarding the possibility of the return of play for summer activities on school campuses, acknowledging reopening will only happen in accordance with the governor’s directives on permissible activities.

PIAA board member and PIAA District XI chairman, Robert Hartman said, “We have to follow what the governor says, but many of us on the board are parents and grandparents and, in my personal opinion, if student-athletes are allowed to participate as per the guidelines that are set forth, I personally don’t care what the date is.”

Previously, the board issued a statement following the governor’s directive that no athletic activity could be hosted upon school campuses until the end of the school year.

“You saw and heard how committed they are to get kids back to doing what they love to do and that’s play sports,” said PIAA Executive Director Dr. Robert Lombardi. “That’s why this whole scenario of the last eight weeks has been so gut-wrenching for all of us. This is difficult. I was really happy the board stood up and told people that this is important to us.”

With the state’s development of the red, yellow and green phases of opening counties across the Commonwealth, the PIAA board is committed to permitting activities in those areas of the state that may be opened under the governor’s orders. If permitted, PIAA is no longer holding to a common date of July 1 for out-of-season activities.

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