Sanford's Sports Center before a basketball game against Salesianum in 2019

At the state's weekly COVID-19 news conference Tuesday, Delaware Governor John Carney and Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay would not commit to allowing Delaware's winter youth and high school sports to proceed starting next week.

Carney announced in a letter last month that winter sports practices could start on time, but competitions would not be permitted until January 11 "at the earliest." 

January 11 is Monday, and WDEL asked Carney whether sports like wrestling, basketball, swimming/diving, and indoor track would be permitted to start.

"Yeah, I think we're still wrestling with that," he said.

Delaware high school teams have been permitted to practice since November 30, meaning some teams will have up to six weeks of preparation in some cases while others instituted a pause.

Delaware saw about 3% of its roughly 2,000 high school winter contests called off due to COVID concerns, but Rattay said they are still worried the switch from outdoor to indoor sports--with the exception of volleyball--will change COVID spread this winter.

"We saw some cases, but we didn't really see much spread among sports teams. We have had some outbreaks among some winter teams, and it's just that indoor setting where contact sports are riskier, so we have some decisions we have to make."

Carney pointed out a concern among the youth/club sports, where there have been fines levied for COVID protocol violations.

"These club tournament sports didn't go so well outside of the competition itself. We had issues with respect to parents and spectators that followed the children into these tournaments and the like. Not only in Delaware, but other states around us, governors talked to one another about that. It illustrates the difference between controlled environments and non-controlled environments."

Pennsylvania and New Jersey announced recently that high school sports programs would resume in those states with altered schedules, and in New Jersey's case, no spectators.

The DIAA Board of Directors is scheduled to meet Thursday. It is unclear whether Carney or DPH will give them additional guidance going into that meeting.