By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) – The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association announced on Friday that  high school football, cheerleading, indoor track and unified basketball have been approved for the Fall II season start date of Feb. 22.

There will be no MIAA sponsored postseason tournaments for Fall II sports, and the timeframe of the season will be Feb. 22- April 25.

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The MIAA COVID-19 Task Force presented recommendations for safety modifications for the 2020-2021 season to the MIAA Board of Directors. Those recommendations were then approved.

Individual school districts can still opt out of taking part.

(links contain new modifications and guidelines from the MIAA):

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Here are some of the noteworthy changes for football:

  • No team practices may take place indoors
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times during play and on the sidelines
  • There will be no pregame or postgame handshakes
  • Team rosters for game day son the field cannot exceed 45 players and a maximum of six coaches
  • Gameday personnel with an assigned responsibility are the only people allowed on the sidelines
  • Injured players with no ability to play in a game are not permitted on the sidelines
  • Chains, pylons and other field equipment should be sanitized before and after the game
  • Coin tosses will be limited to one player from each team and all conferences will be held at midfield
  • Halftime is 10 minutes and teams will be assigned an area to gather outside of the locker room based upon EEA guidelines

Meanwhile, here are some of the key modifications for cheerleading:

  • All participants are required to wear masks and maintain social distancing of at least six feet as they enter the facility
  • Athletes must come dressed for practice/game, as use of locker rooms will be for restrooms only with a limit of one person at a time
  • Cheer teams will perform for home games only
  • Warm-up/stretch must be socially distanced by a minimum of six feet from other teams
  • Athletes must avoid congregating before, during and after practices and games
  • Stunt groups must be created of athletes of no more than 10
  • The building of pyramids is prohibited
  • During indoor practice or participation, team members may only use normal speaking voice projection
  • An elevated volume of voice projection is permitted outside
  • Teams are limited to a maximum of 20 cheerleaders in attendance at any outdoor event or game.

Last August, the MIAA approved a recommendation to allow low and moderate-risk sports to play with modifications during the fall season, but football, cheerleading, indoor track and unified basketball were not included.

“We made adjustments in the fall and had a success first season. We made additional modifications for the winter and our student-athletes have been actively engaged since December,” said MIAA President Jeffrey Granatino. “Now we are hopeful that with the guidance from the Governor’s office and of EEA, along with the work of our various committees, that we will be able to have a safe and successful Fall II Season.”

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A complete look at the at the Fall II sports season modifications is located on the MIAA COVID-19 Task Force page. Staff