The fall athletic season has been canceled by Carteret public schools because of concerns over potential transmission of COVID-19, according to schools Superintendent Rosa Diaz.

Carteret public schools are believed to be the first in the state to cancel the fall athletic season, according to the NJSIAA.

“We realize this is not a popular decision and that our student athletes and musicians may be disappointed. However, we firmly believe our first obligation is to ensure the safety of our students and staff,” Diaz said in a written statement.

The marching band's fall season was also canceled.

Diaz called upon the NJSIAA to consider other options for athletes to "safely participate in sports programs at a more appropriate time."

The NJSIAA  delayed the official start of fall practices until Sept. 14 and competition to Oct. 1 although summer works are permitted now until Aug. 28.

A plan to delay the start of sports until January was submitted to the NJSIAA's Sports Advisory Task Force but was turned down.

“During this unprecedented time, NJSIAA respects the decision of any school board that opts to cancel athletic programs. There will be no penalties for such cancellations," the NJSIAA said.

"This said, NJSIAA firmly believes that teenagers are better served by active participation in supervised, structured activities that follow state and other specific protocols – both related to coronavirus and in general.”

The decision had the support of Mayor Dan Reiman.

"Out of an abundance of caution and in an effort to protect the health and well being of our student participants and staff the Board of Education has made the decision to cancel the after school sports and music programs. I am sure this was a very difficult decision for the board, that they will reevaluate if circumstances change," Reiman said in a written statement.

From the scholastic level to the pros, athletics have struggled with how to return to the field after most events were canceled during the spring.

In an executive order issued Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy allowed contact drills and practices for sports and activities to resume.

Major League Baseball begins a 60-game abbreviated season on Thursday when the Yankees play the Nationals in Washington, D.C. No fans will be allowed in the stands and social distancing protocols are in effect for players.

The New York Giants and Jets will begin their regular seasons in September but because of Murphy's executive order limiting outdoor event capacity to just 500, no fans will be in the stands at MetLife Stadium. Rutgers University will also play with no fans in the stands unless the capacity is raised.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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