TRENTON, New Jersey -- The governor of New Jersey says high school athletes will be allowed to play this fall if their districts allow it whether they are being educated in classrooms or by remote instruction.
Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday that the final determination on high school sports seasons will be made by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, and if districts opt not to have teams take the field the state will not overrule them.
But he said for districts that do decide to let athletes play, student-athletes being educated remotely will be eligible. "Whether that student is seated in a socially distanced classroom or at their kitchen table does not matter; they are a student of that school and they can play for that school."
The athletic association said July 30 that "our return-to-play plan is in full swing throughout New Jersey," adding "we're eager to begin our seasons in mid-September."
Murphy said most fall sports are outdoor activities and safer than indoor ones, and social distancing can be ensured among spectators and on sidelines.
NJ.com reported that the Newark school district, the state's largest, announced plans Monday to begin the fall with all-remote instruction, reversing plans for some in-person instruction. Other school districts have announced similar plans and some have canceled high school sports for the fall.
The state on Monday reported 316 new positive COVID-19 test results for a cumulative total of more than 187,760, along with another four fatalities for a confirmed total of 14,077 and another 1,839 deaths considered probably associated with the disease.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness or death.