The high school sports season took on a different appearance as students returned to school on Sept. 14. The following sports are allowed to participate: cross country, field hockey, girls tennis, sideline cheer, and soccer. 

In a press release from the Rhode Island Interscholastic League, the league stated that while they worked hard to adhere to Governor Gina Raimondo’s COVID-19 guidelines, football and girls and unified volleyball would not be approved for competition this fall. 

The start date of fall athletics, which typically is the Monday before classes start, has been pushed back several times already this year. After being moved to Sept. 14, the Principals Committee on Athletics agreed to move the start date to Sept. 21, one week after the state allowed in-person learning to begin. The only schools that won’t be allowed to participate are Providence public schools and Central Falls public schools, as they are not permitted to return to in-person learning according to the Governor’s guidelines. 

Along with the date of fall sports being pushed back, the period at which coaches can contact their players has also been moved back. Coaches now had until Sept. 13 to have offseason contact with their players. 

Before all RIIL athletes are allowed to participate in high school athletics they must complete an assumption of risk form before every season, including a physical from their doctor. This year, the league said that they’ve modified the form to include COVID-19. The form states that the Interscholastic League is not liable if any student-athlete comes in contact with or contracts COVID-19.  

The RIIL said that they will work closely with the state and the Rhode Island Department of Health to implement safety policies. The RIIL said that they will also receive instruction from the National Federation of State High School Association’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and the League’s own Sports Medicine Advisory Committee.

The league said that they must remain flexible in their return to sports and that they plan to keep a close look at the health data and metrics. Their focus as of now is to educate the member schools that participate in fall sports on how to proceed safely. 

The Interscholastic League is also offering a free COVID-19 elective course for coaches and student-athletes so they will be more educated on how to properly handle the virus. In addition to that partnership, the league has also partnered with Advantage Innovations Graphic Solutions for social distancing signs and with PowerAD for antimicrobial cleaning products. Some schools are even partnering with Adrenaline Fundraising to make their own face masks.  

For more information on Rhode Island high school sports, visit https://www.riil.org/