Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the state to cancel the high school spring sports season in May, the focus of scholastic athletics in New Jersey has shifted to whether or not there will be a fall sports season.

Well, it looks like we could have an answer.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) announced today its plan to create a “summer recesses period” this summer while it plans to have the fall sports season start on time. The “summer recesses period” is essentially a timeframe to open summer workouts, which the NJSIAA says could begin on July 13. Guidelines from numerous state entities should be released in a week, on June 19.

That’s big news for high school athletes and fans all around the Garden State.

“NJSIAA has established direct communication with the governor’s office, the state departments of health and education, and other state associations that are in similar situations regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Colleen Maguire, NJSIAA chief operating officer. “While we’re hopeful school-based athletics will start soon, the public needs to understand that high school sports are unique in that, unlike recreational programs, they must be in sync with our schools. Scholastic sports are part of the curriculum; they don’t operate independently.”

For weeks, the state athletic association has been working with its Medical Advisory Task Force to determine how, and when, it will be safe for all New Jersey student-athletes to return to the playing field.

“We believe it’s essential to the physical and mental well-being of high school students across the state to return to physical activity and athletic competition in a safe and phased manner,” says Dr. Damion Martins, medical director of Sports Medicine at Atlantic Health System, New York Jets team physician, and member of the NJSIAA Medical Advisory Task Force. “Our guiding principles include the need to screen for symptoms, promote appropriate social distancing and hygiene practices, and decrease potential exposure to respiratory droplets.”

The return to high school athletics around the country has become a hot topic, as other states have already cleared a path for students athletes to play in the late spring. However, Gov. Phil Murphy has said that high school athletics can return no earlier than June 30.

Stay tuned with as we continue to update you on the latest new surrounding a return to high school athletics in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.