The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released new guidelines for youth and amateur sports in a statement Tuesday night, from a story reported on by Western Mass News.

“Sports can be an important part of a well-rounded educational experience for students, even during the current public health crisis,” the statement said. “Notwithstanding the risks associated with COVID-19, organized physical activity should be encouraged, within clear health and safety parameters.”

The statement goes on to say that most sports can be played in ways that minimize risks, but that will mean inter-scholastic competitions may not look the same and could have modified rules.

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, or MIAA, consulted with medical advisers with the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Protection to develop sport-specific modifications to meet guidelines.

Sports that the EEA lists as lower and moderate risk may be held during their normal seasons provided they meet MIAA standards.

For the fall season, higher-risk sports including football, cheer, and unified basketball will be practice only using the cohort method described in EEA guidelines, the statement said. Schools choosing to participate in practice only will have to complete a sports attestation compliance form and keep it on file.

High-risk sports in later seasons will continue to be evaluated.

All sports must adhere to the minimum modifications outlines on the EEA guidance to achieve Level 3 play, which is inter-team competition.

For more on the story, or to get a more in-depth look at the new MIAA guidelines, visit Western Mass News' website here and we thank them for the update.

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