DIAA takes first step in sports return to practice fields

The DIAA tentatively approved a plan today that would allow high school sports to begin practicing again next month.

The plan still needs the approval of the Delaware State Board of Education at its next meeting on June 30.

Full-contact sports football, wrestling and boys’ lacrosse would only be allowed to hold modified practices under the plan put together by the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association’s board of directors.

No decisions have been made yet about indoor basketball, either.

The tentative plan would allow all other high school teams to return to practice or competition on July 6, if approved by the state board.

High school athletes in the state haven’t been able to officially hold practices or compete since mid-March, when the state went into a shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. With schools also closed since then, school facilities have been largely closed, too.

Health guidelines would still need to be followed, said Dr. Bradley Layfield, the DIAA board chairperson and Sussex Central High principal. He also said there will need to be more discussion before teams could return to full interscholastic competition in the fall.

“I think it lines up very well with what the state protocols are for youth sports,” said Layfield. “That, I think, is a good thing.
“As we approach the fall season, we will probably have to take another look at this depending where we are with the start of school and sports in general.”