Archdiocese shuts down fall sports

Three days after the PIAA gave the go-ahead for high school sports, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that its 17 high schools will not be permitted to play.

On Monday, all school families, administrators, faculty and staff in the Archdiocesan high schools located throughout the five-county region received a joint letter from Sister Maureen Lawrence McDermott, superintendent for secondary schools, and Irene Horstmann Hannan, CEO of Faith in the Future.

The letter read, in part, “After much careful thought, consultation and prayer, a decision has been reached that all of our high schools will opt out of participation in interscholastic competition for the fall 2020 season. We recognize that this news is disappointing to many of our students, families and coaches, particularly our seniors. It saddens us greatly as well. We recognize the value of athletics as part of our educational philosophy that seeks to provide for the holistic formation of young men and women of character. This is not the scenario any of us desired.”

McDermott and Hannan thanked Gov. Tom Wolf and the state departments of Health and Education for their guidance.

“Please know that we share your disappointment regarding the current status of fall sports programs,” they wrote in their letter. “It is our hope that your disappointment will be tempered by an understanding that we have an obligation to protect all those entrusted to our care. Athletics could not be treated separately and it fell to us to make this decision in a manner consistent with everything else done to this time. Given the nature of athletic competition and the manner in which COVID-19 is transmitted, there is currently no way for us to reasonably provide for the health and safety of student-athletes as well as those with whom they come into contact.” ••