CLARKS SUMMIT, Pa. — When the heat acclimation period begins on August 10th, Abington Heights will not take part. The pandemic is forcing the school district to suspend contact sports for the upcoming, fall season – that includes not just football, but field hockey, cheerleading, soccer, and volleyball. Non-contact sports golf, cross country and tennis are also in flux. Abington Heights will start the school year virtually. Superintendent Dr. Michael Mahon said the district could not reconcile their safety efforts with athletics.
"We owe it to our community, particularly our student athletes and their coaches, to let them know where we stand on things right now and that is to suspend contact sports because we really cannot envision having the beginning of football and soccer on August 10th," Dr. Mahon said.
With neighboring states New York and New Jersey postponing play and with local college leagues suspended, Mahon said he was surprised with the PIAA’s approach to go ahead and play. While he recognizes the disappointment, he knows the school made the right call.
"It’s a big decision to make, but in our view and the people that I’ve consulted with this, it actually is not a hard decision," Dr. Mahon explained. "It just requires us to suspend reality for two hours, to say that this really is OK when it’s not. We want to have football, but we just can’t delude ourselves into thinking it’s OK to have it right now under the conditions that we’re under. There is no testing regiment in place for scholastic sports. Major League Baseball, college, they’re giving test after test and we have none of that. We look around and we say that it’s inevitable that those things would be happening that those would be happening if we’re playing, for example, football, and so as a result, we cannot go down that road as a school district. I think others will come to that same view but certain decisions are going to be hard but necessary and contact sports in the fall is one of those decisions."