Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Citing pandemic, Harrisburg School District cancels fall sports season

The Harrisburg School District administrative building.

Student athletes may not get a kick out of the Harrisburg School District’s fall sports plan.

The district has canceled the fall sports season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Acting Superintendent Chris Celmer announced this afternoon.

“We have a tremendous amount of empathy and compassion for how this decision impacts our student athletes, especially our seniors,” Celmer said. “However, the health and safety of our student athletes must be our first priority.”

A Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) board meeting is being held this Friday to discuss the fall season. Celmer said that, regardless of what is determined, Harrisburg district students will not play sports. He said that he hopes the PIAA considers postponing the fall season.

“There are still far too many unknowns about how COVID-19 spreads and medically impacts young adults in order for us to feel as though it is safe for our athletes to participate,” he said.

Celmer mentioned that research done by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has found that people of color, including students in underserved populations such as Harrisburg, have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

No decision has been made by the district about the spring season, but Celmer hopes PIAA will consider an abbreviated season in the spring to allow for equitable opportunities for students across the state.

Celmer said that the cancellation is in accordance with Section 511 of the school code, and the district reserves the right to revisit their decision.

Earlier this month, the district announced its plans to start the 2020-21 school year 100% virtual. The first day of school is Aug. 31.

For more information, visit the Harrisburg School District’s website.

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