March 26, 2020
Kasi M. Gifford, Esq.
To Our School Board Community:
We have been trying to anticipate and quickly respond to your questions during this time, given the unprecedented challenges presented to our Boards with COVID-19 and the school closure to students. We have been providing guidance on how best to meet the needs of your students, staff, and community. One of the most unfortunate side effects of the COVID-19 outbreak has been the postponement of the Spring Athletic Season for student athletes. On March 25, 2020, NJSIAA posted a new set of FAQs to their website. The notable highlights include the following:
- All NJSIAA staff are working remotely.
- All NJSIAA meetings are taking place virtually.
- No NJSIAA member school, school district, or coach may conduct practices, scrimmages, or games (which includes all official interscholastic contests).
- This is a mandatory period of no in-person contact between coaches and their student-athletes.
- During the governor’s statewide shutdown of all schools, no practices, scrimmages, or games may be held.
- This includes any event organized by a parent, captain, or other student-athlete.
- These restrictions relate to all sports, not just spring sports.
- Coaches may interact virtually with their student-athletes, including providing workouts or training materials.
- However, such virtual contact – as well as any activity that may result from it – must strictly conform to all directives in effect related to the coronavirus outbreak and social distancing guidelines.
- In addition, any virtual contact and resultant activities must be entirely in keeping with all NJSIAA in- and off-season protocols.
- NJSIAA will determine the length of the regular season once a school opening date has been announced.
- All tournaments are subject to change at this point.
- NJSIAA is evaluating options for the annual business meeting.
- The annual scholarship lunch-in has been cancelled. NJSIAA will still be taking nominations and will send each winner a certificate and a gift. Monetary scholarships will not be awarded this year.
Our e-mails about recent developments are not intended to substitute for our legal advice to our clients based on your specific needs or requests. In addition, our guidance is subject to, and can be superseded by new laws, rules, regulations, or orders. Moreover, some directives from the Federal and State authorities can appear, and can be, contradictory or in conflict, so please contact us for assistance.
As always, please contact us with any questions. We will continue to do our best to keep you updated in the coming days and weeks.