WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange High School fall sports has been given the green light following the decision by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) to approve a modified season in a statement dated Aug. 20.

Football, Girls and Boys Soccer, Girls Tennis, and Cross-Country will see play according to the protocols set forth by the NJSIAA. Girls Volleyball has been moved to February with a special season in between winter and spring sports. 

"This is a time of great uncertainty," began WOHS Athletic Director Ron Bligh.

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"I have the highest regard and believe in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA). With Governor Murphy's full support and student safety as their prime concern, this organization has developed a detailed plan for our student-athletes to return safely to interscholastic athletics in New Jersey," he said.

The NJSIAA statement reads:

"Today, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s (NJSIAA) Sports Advisory Task Force released its Return-to-Sports Plan, which provides detailed schedules for fall and winter sports. The dates for the spring sports season will be announced at a later date; the task force recognizes the need to maximize the spring season due to the loss of the season last school year.

The outdoor fall sports – football, cross country, field hockey, girls tennis and soccer – will begin practice on September 14.  Girls tennis will begin competition on September 28. Cross country, field hockey and soccer will begin competition on October 1, and opening day for the football season will be Friday, October 2.

The indoor fall sports – gymnastics and girls volleyball – will be moved to a new, special season that will begin with practices on February 16 and competition on March 3.  If circumstances change, and we are unable to have a fall season, the outdoor fall sports will also be played at this time.

Winter sports teams may begin practicing on December 3. Winter sport competition will begin on December 21.

All of these dates are subject to change based on guidance from the Governor and Department of Health. 

The Sports Advisory Task Force was guided by a set of principles that take into account the unique circumstances that we all are living through.  Their goals were to ensure health and safety; promote participation, not championships; limit travel; and stay flexible in the face of changing circumstances.

With these principles in mind, schedules will be condensed, competition will be local, out-of-state competition will be prohibited (unless a waiver is granted for exceptional circumstances), and post-season play will be limited and local, with no statewide championships.

“We’re extremely appreciative of the support and guidance from Governor Phil Murphy, Senator Paul Sarlo and Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly,” said NJSIAA COO, Colleen Maguire,  “Our kids need structured activity, and we believe that education-based high school sports is the best way to provide it.  Giving teenagers extra motivation to stay Covid-free promotes healthy outcomes for everyone.”

"In my opinion student participation in High School sports, the Marching Band or for that matter any extracurricular activity, is essential to our students' emotional and social growth," stated Bligh.

"I am proud to be a part of a school District that goes above and beyond satisfying these needs of our students. We all need a mental boost at this time, including our kids who are our most precious commodity. Restoring extracurricular activities will allow our students a feeling of normalcy, a sense of belonging, and pride. This is what getting an education is all about in West Orange," he concluded.     

See the WOHS Athletic schedules here. More information will be provided as it becomes available.