Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL)

Overview

Established in 1903, the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) is the longest running scholastic athletic program in the country.

The mission of the PSAL is to provide opportunities for educating students in physical fitness, character development and socialization skills through an athletic program that fosters discipline and sportsmanship across our 25 varsity sports.

Since its inception, PSAL has provided opportunities for over one million New York City students.

Sports Offered

  • Badminton
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • Cricket
  • Cross Country
  • Double Dutch
  • Fencing
  • Flag Football
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Handball
  • Indoor Track
  • Lacrosse
  • Outdoor Track
  • Rugby
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Stunt
  • Swimming
  • Table Tennis
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Wrestling

For additional information or questions, please email PSAL@schools.nyc.gov or contact your program Athletic Director. 

PSAL Health Guidance

PSAL COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

As announced on August 20, COVID-19 vaccination will be required for all students and staff participating in high-risk Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) sports during the 2021-22 school year. This vaccination requirement applies to all participants in high-risk sports, including students (both DOE and charter), Coaches, and Athletic Directors.

High-risk sports include football, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, lacrosse, stunt, and rugby. Vaccination will also be required for participation in bowling, because while not a high-risk sport, it takes place in spaces that require vaccination.

Participants in fall high-risk sports must get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the first day of competitive play, which varies by sport. Winter and spring PSAL participants have until the beginning of their season to be fully vaccinated.

  • Participants should use the DOE’s online Vaccination Portal to upload their vaccination cards.

This vaccine mandate is in alignment with recent New York State and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, which state that high-risk sports and extracurricular activities should be virtual or canceled in areas of high community transmission unless all participants are fully vaccinated.

General COVID Prevention Strategies

Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are at low risk of severe infection. Currently, people 12 years and older are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. 

The following actions should be followed by all PSAL participants in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission between PSAL participants. These actions include

  • Getting vaccinated against COVID-19;
  • Wearing a facial covering at all times when on DOE property or when competing;
  • Staying home when feeling sick;
  • Frequent hand hygiene; and,
  • Maintaining physical distancing of 3 feet between players and coaches, wherever possible.

General PSAL Guidance During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Applies to All Sports)

  • Every effort should be made to hold activities outdoors.
  • All participants including coaches, athletes, and officials must wear proper face coverings in accordance with NYCDOE policy. Face coverings must be worn at all times (sidelines, timeouts, etc.), regardless of an individual’s COVID-19 vaccine status. Face covering must be worn even when not physically participating in the activity.
  • No handshakes, fist bumps, high fives, or hugs between participants.
  • Schools will only be allowed to compete with other PSAL teams. Traveling outside of the five boroughs for competition will not be permitted.
  • In the event of a school closure all PSAL activities will be postponed or cancelled for the duration of the closure.
  • During practice and games, physical distancing of at least six feet will continue to be enforced for sports such as golf or gymnastics where contact with other participants is not a fundamental pillar of the sport. For sports such as soccer, where contact with other participants is a fundamental pillar of the sport, lapses in social distancing for the purpose of sport-specific drills/simulated gameplay will be allowed.
  • Physical distancing must remain in effect for all pregame activity, bench areas, and during timeouts.
  • Officials are not responsible for monitoring activities on the sidelines, such as social distancing, face coverings, hand washing, symptoms of illnesses and other such issues. This monitoring obligation remains with the coaching staff and school personnel.
  • Officials will be required to wear a proper face covering.
  • Pregame conferences will be limited to one official, the head coach from each team, and a single captain from each team, while maintaining social distance.
  • Pre-contest official crew meetings should be held outside when possible and where social distancing is more easily accomplished.
  • Coin tosses should involve only the Head Referee and one captain and head coach from each team.
  • Officials’ tables should be limited to essential personnel, including the home team scorer and timer. Visiting team personnel (scorer, statisticians, etc.) are not deemed essential and may need to find an alternative location. Space availability at the table is a variable in determining the number of individuals permitted at the officials’ table and observing social distancing requirements.
  • Equipment sharing should continue to be limited as much as possible.
  • Locker room use will be permitted for all sports. Face coverings and physical distancing must be enforced in the locker rooms.

Swimming

When DOE indoor swimming pools reopen, PSAL swim teams can resume.

Facial Coverings

In accordance with the DOE's Face Covering policy , all staff, students, and visitors over the age of two years old entering a New York City Department of Education (DOE) school building MUST wear a face covering.

For the purposes of this guidance, a face covering is any well-secured cloth covering or disposable mask that covers a person’s nose and mouth and is worn to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. Acceptable face coverings include but are not limited to cloth-based face coverings (e.g., homemade, sewn, or quick cut masks), and disposable surgical masks that cover both the mouth and nose.

The following facial coverings are NOT permitted for PSAL activities:

  • Bandanas and neck gaiters.
  • Face coverings with an exhalation valve or vent.
  • Face coverings that completely cover or hide an individual’s face, such as ski masks.

Unless otherwise approved by school administration, clear face shields cannot be worn unless accompanied by a face covering.

Vaccinated students and staff participating in high-risk sports may remove their face coverings while outside when practicing, conditioning, or in competition. Currently, all other players, regardless of COVID-19 vaccine status, must wear acceptable face coverings, unless players are unable to tolerate a face covering for the physical activity (see guidance below on face covering breaks).

Coaches, athletic trainers, and other individuals who are not directly engaged in physical activity are still required to wear a face covering, regardless of COVID-19 vaccine status, at all times when participating in PSAL activities.

Students who request to remove their face covering must be permitted to for a short period of time. “Mask breaks” can also be offered throughout practice and other PSAL activities and should not last for more than five minutes. Mask breaks can only occur when:

  • Students are outdoors or in well-ventilated areas, and
  • Unvaccinated students are at least six feet apart.

Coaches should monitor students for perceived levels of exertion and should consider building extra water/mask breaks or limiting the number of vigorous activities in their practice plan.

Schools must provide PSAL student athletes with proper face coverings if they do not have access to them.

Physical Distancing

Physical distancing of at least six feet between individuals must be enforced by coaches and Athletic Directors at all times outside of the field of play.

For the field of play, all participants must ensure at least six feet of physical distancing whenever possible, whether indoor or outdoor, unless safety or the core activity (e.g. practicing, playing) requires a shorter distance.

Athletic Directors and Coaches should work with their principal and building supervisor to ensure that building movement protocols maximize physical distancing capabilities and minimize congestion.

Hydration Plan

Sharing of water bottles, coolers, and use of water fountains will not be permitted. Students will be responsible for bringing and labeling their preferred hydration fluid to PSAL activities. It is recommended that all athletes bring at least 16 oz of water to each PSAL activity. PSAL participants must be allowed to hydrate themselves liberally throughout the activity. Coaches should take care to have at least one five-minute water break for every 30 minutes of activity.

Coaches and Athletic Directors should take extra care to ensure participants remain physically distanced by at least six feet during water breaks since the students will be taking mask breaks as well during this time. To reduce congestion and congregating during water breaks, water bottles should not all be stored in the same place during practice. An example of this would be having students use the entire perimeter of the gymnasium to place their water bottles as opposed to one sideline.

Hand Hygiene

Coaches and Athletic Directors are responsible for ensuring that all participants wash or sanitize their hands before and after every PSAL activity. Washing hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water is preferred. When soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol can be used. Schools will be responsible for ensuring that all PSAL participants have access to hand hygiene supplies. 

Special care should be taken to prevent congregating in and around bathroom areas for the purposes of hand hygiene.

Equipment Rules/ Equipment Cleaning and Disinfection

Items that should never be shared between PSAL participants:

  • Water bottles, towels, uniforms, clothing, shoes, helmets, headgear, mouthguards, personal protective gear (gloves, braces, shoulder pads, chest protectors, catcher’s gear, grips, baseball gloves, softball gloves, etc.)

Items that may be shared during a session but must be properly cleaned and disinfected between use by each participant:

  • Bats, racquets, sticks, fencing epees and foils, weightlifting equipment (barbells, weight bars, weight benches, etc.), Conditioning equipment (medicine balls, yoga mats, etc.), Sleds, tackling pads/dummies, individual equipment (poles for pole vaulting, shot put, discus, etc.), golf clubs

Items that may be shared during a session but must be properly cleaned and disinfected at the conclusion of the session:

  • Training mats, balls, shuttles, gymnastics equipment, fencing body cords, table tennis tables, double dutch ropes, etc.

Cleaning supplies will be provided by the school. Whenever possible, additional cleaning and disinfecting should occur and coaches should take steps to minimize the sharing of equipment to individuals or small cohorts between cleanings.

Spectator Policy

Schools can choose to allow a limited number of spectators to outdoor PSAL competitions. Spectators are still prohibited from any indoor PSAL activity. If a school chooses to allow spectators to enter outdoor PSAL competitions, the school administration must limit the number of spectators to 200 or fewer people and comply with existing DOE capacity and six-foot physical guidance. All spectators must wear face coverings at all times and must comply with DOE entry protocols, including the completion of the DOE’s health scr

Food/Eating During Activities

Currently no concession stands or bake sales are permitted at PSAL events. Students should not engage in any sharing of foods and beverages. Whenever possible, consumption of any foods and snacks should take place before entering the venue of the activity. 

When consumption before the activity is not possible, participants who are eating must:

  • Sanitize their hands before and after eating
  • Remain physically distanced by at least six feet for the duration of their meal
  • Eat alone or with a small, physically distanced cohort, ensuring individuals are facing one direction and not each other.

Athletes are responsible for bringing their own hydration fluids to the activity (see above for Hydration Plan).

Permits and Capacity

For the 2021-22 school year, PSAL permits will be centrally funded and may be granted up until 9:00 pm.

PSAL programs using indoor facilities must coordinate with other extracurricular activities to ensure any DOE-mandated capacity limits are not exceeded.

Whenever possible, student athletes should be placed in PSAL cohorts to reduce the amount of contact and equipment sharing between individuals. Examples of cohorts include:

  • Keeping consistent partners/groups for drills,
  • Utilizing stations as opposed to full-team activities, and
  • Minimizing the sharing of spaces between teams at the same time.

Transportation

All efforts should be made to limit or reduce travel to only that which is absolutely necessary associated with participating in PSAL activity.

Schools utilizing school buses must adhere to all DOE busing policies, including wearing a face covering and maintaining physical distancing as much as possible, regardless of COVID-19 vaccine status. Teams traveling by public transportation must adhere to the MTA rules of travel including wearing face coverings on the trains and buses.

COVID-19 Symptoms and Cases

Health Screening and Staying Home When Sick

All participants will need to have completed the DOE’s daily health screening form. Additionally, all PSAL participants need to take care to refrain from attending PSAL activities when feeling unwell. All participants have a responsibility to monitor themselves for COVID-like illness symptoms and to report positive COVID cases to their school.

All participants of a PSAL activity including students and adults must pass the DOE health screening. As screening results are valid for 24 hours, participants do not need to re-complete the screening form but can show their screening clearance from earlier in the day. Any participant who has failed the screening cannot participate in PSAL activity. In the absence of school safety personnel, any necessary health screenings will be conducted by the head coach or other school-based personnel as designated by the school. For PSAL-sponsored tournaments, PSAL will designate personnel to conduct the health check, as needed.

Development of COVID-like Symptoms During PSAL Events

COVID-like illness symptoms are defined as any or all of the following symptoms that are new and unexplained by pre-existing conditions such as asthma or allergies:

  • Fever of 100.0 degrees F or higher or chills,
  • New cough,
  • New loss of taste or smell, and/or
  • New shortness of breath.

In the event that a student or adult develops COVID-like illness symptoms during a PSAL activity, play should be suspended immediately so that the situation may be assessed. 

If the symptomatic individual is a student, they must be removed and isolated immediately. Play may resume if it is safe to do so and proper supervision can be provided to the rest of the team while the coach or Athletic Director is tending to the symptomatic student. Coaches and Athletic Directors should follow their first aid and CPR training to call 911 and activate their Emergency Action Plan for any student in distress. If the student is not in distress, the Athletic Director will be responsible for contacting the parent/guardian to provide instructions on testing and/or isolation rules as well as creating a plan for the student’s safe transportation home. In addition, the Athletic Director will be responsible for contacting the principal and nurse at their school to alert them of a case of COVID-like illness requiring follow-up.

Any participating adult who develops symptoms must immediately remove themselves from the activity. The coach will be responsible for contacting the Athletic Director or other school designee to record the removal of the person for COVID-like illness symptoms.

If the symptomatic individual is an adult that would need to be present at the event for supervision or officiating such as a coach or official, the event will be suspended for the day and all participants should go home. Where possible, suspended contests will be resumed or replayed at a later date.

The Athletic Director will be responsible for coordinating with their Principal(s) to ensure that all school-based reporting protocols are followed. 

Any individual (student or staff member) showing signs of COVID-19 can only return to PSAL activities after meeting the conditions of the COVID-19 School Health Policy [link forthcoming]. 

COVID Case Reporting and Contact Tracing Procedures

All participants (player, coach, manager, official, athletic trainer, etc.) of PSAL activities will be required to immediately notify the Athletic Director of any positive COVID-19 diagnosis. The principal or designee as appointed by school leadership will be responsible for following the DOE Situation Room policy [link forthcoming] to report all positive COVID-19 cases.

Students who test positive for COVID-19 must be placed on the inactive roster until their isolation period has concluded and they may return to school per the COVID-19 School Health Policy [link forthcoming].

Situation Room Support for PSAL 

The Situation Room will manage COVID-19 cases of PSAL participants. When a PSAL participant tests positive, the principal associated with the PSAL program should notify the Situation Room immediately at 212-393-2780.

The Situation Room will conduct an investigation to determine the appropriate intervention for the impacted PSAL team. 

Once the intervention is determined, the Situation Room will notify the principal. The principal will notify the PSAL team as needed with letters provided by the Situation Room.

If a school is closed, its affiliated PSAL program will also cease activity for the same period. All participating schools will be notified of this action, including co-located and other schools with students who are affiliated with the PSAL program. 

Quarantine, Isolation, and Return to PSAL

In the event that a classroom or cohort must quarantine due to a COVID-19 exposure, all affected participants will not be permitted to attend PSAL activities for the duration of the closure. In the event of a school closure, PSAL activities will be suspended for the affected school for the duration of the closure.

 Students who test positive for COVID-19 will not be able to participate in any in-person team activities while in isolation. Further guidance regarding close contacts will be provided by the Situation Room pending investigation.

PSAL COVID-19 Testing

COVID-19 Testing for PSAL Scholar Athletes and Staff

Allowing the return of PSAL activity requires awareness of, and immediate action on, any potential or active COVID-19 cases in our programs. All unvaccinated student athletes and athletic staff must provide consent for testing prior to engaging in any PSAL activity. COVID-19 testing will be conducted for PSAL staff and athletes, and may be held during and outside of the academic day.

Student consent for testing can be provided via a student’s NYC Schools Account

(NYSCA) or by providing a paper consent form to the student’s PSAL Athletic Director. Staff consent can be provided via the DOE’s daily Heath Screening Questionnaire. Consent for testing must be completed before an individual can participate in PSAL activities.

PSAL Responsibilities

Athletic Director's Responsibilities

The Athletic Director is responsible for implementing and enforcing the guidelines contained within this policy. If at any time the Athletic Director needs more clarification on the guidelines, they should contact the PSAL at PSAL@schools.nyc.gov.

The Athletic Director will be responsible for maintaining accurate attendance records of all individuals present at every practice and game. Each team event should have the date, time, type (practice or game) and location of the event. For the students, the record should include their first and last name, OSIS number and parent/guardian name and contact number. For all adults, including school staff, PSAL staff, medical staff, facility management staff, etc., the record should include a legible first name, last name, job title, and contact phone number.

Records may be kept as a physical paper log or in a digital method. All records (originals or copies) must be kept on file by the Athletic Director and must be filed by sport.

Coaches’ Responsibilities

The coaches will help to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission by:

  1. Upholding all guidelines contained in this document;
  2. Communicating guidance in a clear and concise manner to athletes and parents;
  3. Producing accurate records of attendance for submission to Athletic Directors;
  4. Encouraging healthy behaviors, including proper hydration; and
  5. Gradually returning athletes to play.

Athletes’ Responsibilities

The athletes will help to reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission by:

  1. Staying home and alerting a coach when they feel unwell or have been exposed to COVID-19;
  2. Maintaining physical distancing of at least six from other PSAL participants;
  3. Following hand hygiene measures including but not limited to washing/sanitizing hands before and after PSAL activities;
  4. Sanitizing personal sports equipment daily (clothing, towels, water bottles, etc.);
  5. Wearing a proper face covering for the duration of the PSAL activity; and
  6. Labeling personal sports equipment whenever possible.

Consent Forms

All students participating in PSAL must submit the following forms:

  1. Pre-Participation Sports Physical Examination Form – Form date cannot be more than 12 months old at time of participation;
  2. Parental Consent Form; and,
  3. Proof of COVID-19 vaccine (required for high risk sport athletes) or completed NYC DOE Consent Form for COVID

About Us

Established in 1903, the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) is the longest running scholastic athletic program in the country.

The mission of the PSAL is to provide opportunities for educating students in physical fitness, character development and socialization skills through an athletic program that fosters discipline and sportsmanship across our 25 varsity sports.

Since its inception, PSAL has provided opportunities for over one million New York City students.

Who We Serve

High School AthleticsAnnual Numbers
Sports Offered25
Student Athletes46,000+
Total teams3,200+
Athletic Programs (some shared by multiple schools)274
Total Schools Participating (across all Athletic Programs)530
Competitions Played~16,000

For additional information, concerns or questions, please email PSAL@schools.nyc.gov or contact your program Athletic Director.

Title IX

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities. The DOE is committed to complying with Title IX and ensuring that DOE schools and workplaces are free of sex discrimination.

Questions regarding Title IX compliance should be referred to:

Sobia Mahmood, Esq.,
Title IX Coordinator
65 Court Street, Room 1102
Brooklyn, NY 11201
718-935-4987[JS1] 
Title_IX_Inquiries@schools.nyc.gov 

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