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DC high school sports suspended, unemployment benefits program announced after case surge
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks during a press briefing Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

After D.C. experienced its largest one day jump in coronavirus cases over the weekend, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Monday the suspension of high school contact sports for older children and the launch of a new unemployment insurance program to provide assistance to residents impacted by COVID-19. 

Below is a breakdown of DC sports and the unemployment insurance program: 

SUSPENSION OF HIGH SCHOOL CONTACT SPORTS

High school extra-curricular sports activities and competitions are suspended for DC public schools, public charter schools, private schools, and parochial schools.

Recreation centers and sports clubs must also suspend physical sports and organized athletic activities (including practices, clinics, and competitions) for high school-aged athletes.  This applies not only to high contact sports but other sports and physical activities as well. 

While winter sports practice had been rescheduled to begin on Monday, Dec. 14, the District of Columbia State Athletic Association schools will not be allowed to conduct any athletic activities at the moment, including re-engagement, skill development, practices or competitions.

“When we made the decision to push back the start of the season, we were aware of the possibility that the new schedule might not be met,” DCSAA Executive Director Clark Ray said in a press release. “Our goal was that if the data and science supported returning to play in December, that’s what we would do. Unfortunately, at this time, the risks associated with playing simply are too high.

“We appreciate the leadership and clear direction of Mayor Bowser and know that she has the health and safety of our student-athletes and all District residents first and foremost. We need everyone to continue during their part – wear your mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands – so that we can have a season.”

RELATED: D.C. State Athletic Association pauses beginning of 2020-21 athletic calendar due to COVID

The following high-contact sports are prohibited under the new health guidance:

  • Basketball
  • Boxing
  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Martial Arts
  • Rugby 
  • Soccer
  • Wrestling

The DCSAA is targeting Monday, Feb. 1, as the new start of the 2020-21 athletic calendar, with the intent of holding three seven-week sports seasons:

  • Winter sports: Practice begins Feb. 1; competition Feb. 8 to March 27
  • Fall sports: Football practice begins March 1; other sports begin practice March 8; competition March 15 to May 1
  • Spring sports: Practice begins April 26; competition May 3 to June 12

“While it is disappointing to delay the start of the athletic season, our focus remains on getting student-athletes on the field and court and back to competition,” Ray said. “We know the positive impact that athletics have on our youths and look forward to getting back in action. Of course, we will continue to monitor the situation and maintain the flexibility to return to play as soon as we can.”

 THE NEW UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE PROGRAM

Residents who are eligible for the program are those who were eligible for, and filed for, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) as of November 30 (meaning you were not eligible for receiving traditional unemployment insurance).

Additionally, PUA covers individuals who are not eligible for traditional unemployment benefits which include the following: 

  • Self-employed individuals.
  • People seeking part-time employment.
  • Individuals lacking sufficient work history.
  • Independent contractors.
  • Gig economy workers.
  • And individuals who have exhausted their benefit eligibility under both traditional unemployment insurance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. 

Bowser said the new program is being funded as part of the CARES Act. 

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