LONG ISLAND (WABC) -- In a surprising reversal, the governing board for high schools sports in Suffolk County has postponed all sports this fall over concerns of spreading the coronavirus.
In conjunction with its Athletic Council, County Athletic Directors, Safety Committee and Suffolk County Executive Board, Section XI will be postponing all sports until January 4 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"While this was a difficult decision, we feel it was the best move for the health and safety of everyone involved," Section XI Executive Director Tom Combs said. "We still have a lot of hard work ahead in planning and executing on the three seasons across six months in 2021, but we look forward to the challenge and collaboration with our member schools and providing an impactful experience for our student-athletes and coaches."
Related: Dozens protest Nassau County decision to postpone high school fall sports
Officials cited the potential for increased positive cases of COVID-19; the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, officials and staff members; a reduced number of spectators; a lack of locker room and facility use; increased costs in transportation and security for school districts; and equity among all school districts.
Section XI's Athletic Council voted this week to postpone the fall season and condense all three seasons - fall, winter, spring - from January through June.
Related: All high school fall sports postponed in Nassau County
Section XI will run three complete seasons for the varsity, junior varsity and modified levels.
These seasons will allow for all teams to play an adapted season with a culminating championship event.
The seasons will run as follows:
Varsity and JV
--Season 1 (Winter), January 4- February 27
--Season 2 (Fall), March 1- May 1
--Season 3 (Spring), April 26- June 19
--Season 1 (Winter), January 4- February 6
--Season 2 (Late Winter), February 8- Mar 20
--Season 3 (Fall), March 22- May 8
--Season 4 (Spring), May 10- June 12
Previously, Section XI had said it would continue with the plan to allow low-risk high school sports to resume September 21.
Related: Long Island Ducks stadium renamed Fairfield Properties Ballpark in Suffolk County
Hundreds of nursing homes still aren't allowing visitation amid coronavirus pandemic
MORE CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 COVERAGE
How coronavirus changed the New York region
Do you have coronavirus symptoms?
What's Open, What's Closed in the Tri-State area
COVID-19 Help, Information. Stimulus and Business Updates
abc7NY Phase Tracker: