Harrisburg, PA – Although the PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, which oversees high school sports in the state) has announced that no spectators will be allowed in the stands at high school sports games this year, Republicans in the State House of Representatives are asking them to reconsider.
They have sent a letter to Governor Tim Wolf and PIAA.
As of now, there has been no response.
Read the press releases from House of Representatives members:
HARRISBURG – House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) joined 62 other Pennsylvania House Republicans in writing to Gov. Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Agency (PIAA) to request a change in recent policy prohibiting spectators at PIAA events, including parents of athletes.
“At a time when folks have had the five-months-long experience of social distancing and protecting themselves and others from a contagious virus, it makes no sense that people might be less safe sitting in the football stands or around the high school track at a soccer match, with appropriate modifications, than in the aisles of their local mega retailer,” the letter to Gov. Wolf reads.
“On July 31, 2020, you reminded Pennsylvanians that you are looking to keep decisions as to school reopening local, saying, ‘School governing boards and administrators will determine if school buildings reopen and if classes resume in person, remotely, or a combination of the two.’ Should not similar allowances be made for whether spectators should be allowed at a local school’s sporting events?”
“The parents of these students have supported their children and, oftentimes, the school sports team in various ways during the student’s journey and there is a deep satisfaction from the ability to watch their loved ones compete in something they value. While we understand that you feel constrained by the Governor’s orders in this regard, we wish to remind you that PIAA is an independent agency that has the ability to think outside the box to come up with a commonsense solution that can allow both sports to proceed as normal while, at a minimum, allowing parents of students to watch their loved ones in person.”
HARRISBURG – Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne) issued the following statement regarding the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association’s (PIAA) decision to ban spectators from high school sporting events this fall over COVID-19 concerns.
“This decision is a complete overreach. It is absolutely ridiculous that parents will be unable to watch their children compete on the playing field.
“My legislative office has heard from a number of parents who are upset because they will miss seeing their child compete in his or her senior year. Other parents have called with concerns over sports injuries and how they believe they should have the right to access their child and make sure that proper medical assistance is provided.
“Playing sports also helps student athletes stay physically and mentally healthy.
“We need to base decisions on facts and science. Families are doing everything asked of them with social distancing and masking. These same restrictions can be implemented at sporting events.
“There are several ways to social distance at sporting events including sitting/standing and wearing masks. Obviously, being able to watch your child play is important, but the fear of them getting injured and not being there is even greater.
“Most who are diagnosed with COVID-19 are not being hospitalized or showing symptoms. We need to continue collaborating with our hospitals and health officials to prevent further spread of the virus.
“The PIAA completely jumped the gun on this. Meanwhile, the governor has 500 school districts operating by their own rules due to his hands-off approach.”
Toohil also has signed on to letters sent by House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) to Gov. Tom Wolf and PIAA President Francis Majikes requesting the decision be reversed or modified. The letters are attached here and here.