ITHACA, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that certain high school sports will be eligible to restart in late September during a briefing Monday morning held on Long Island.

In a news conference touching on several different topics, Cuomo said that “lower-risk” sports would be allowed to return statewide on Sept. 21, naming tennis, soccer, cross-country, field hockey and swimming as fitting the definition of lower-risk. Teams in those sports will be allowed to practice and play.

Sports deemed “higher-risk” include ones with significant physical contact, such as wrestling, tackle football, rugby and ice hockey. Teams in those sports may begin practicing on Sept. 21, but cannot yet compete in actual games.

“Schools will be coming back, there will be a little bit of a period to gauge what’s happening, and then Sept. 21 they can start to practice and play all across the state,” he said.

Gov. Cuomo speaking Monday morning as he announced sports reopening dates.

Cuomo did not specify whether or not there was a specific date when he would consider approving higher-risk sports to begin playing. He also did not address the “moderate risk” sports category, previously named by the Department of Health, which includes basketball, and popular sports like baseball, volleyball, softball and gymnastics, though with the caveat that these sports can be considered low-risk if enough cleaning and sanitization measures are put into place.

Guidance has been posted by the state’s Department of Health that school sports must follow, Cuomo continued, most notably that travel play will be restricted to only within a school’s region (or contiguous region or county) until at least Oct. 19.

“The fall is a big question mark,” Cuomo added. “Many of the experts are suggesting there may be a second wave or a recurrence, so phasing it will allow us to watch it.”

Ithaca City School District athletics have been suspended since schools were closed in mid-March. The New York State Public High School Athletic Association had already announced that sports wouldn’t begin until Sept. 21.

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com