Considerations For Sports Officials

  • These guidelines were prepared by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.

    » PDF Sports Officials Voucher


    • Contact should be made with school athletic administration leading up to the contest about (1) school expectations, (2) to determine where you should enter the host school’s property and (3) to obtain other information that you or the school may want to communicate to each other prior to your arrival.
      • Officiating crews should designate one crew member to contact the host school and provide information to other members of the crew. 
    • Request hand sanitizer be available at scorer’s table, if applicable, and use it between periods and during time outs; officials are encouraged to bring their own in the event none is available. 
    • Conversations should occur with the host school administration regarding the size of changing areas or locker rooms to ensure social distancing can occur. 
    • When possible, officials should come to contests fully dressed in uniform. 


    • 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. 
    • Be prepared to have a health screening conducted upon arrival at a school campus. 
    • In accordance with NYSDOH guidance (Interim COVID-19 Guidance for Sports and Recreation), responsible parties must ensure a distance of at least six feet is maintained among individuals at all times, whether indoor or outdoor, unless safety or the core activity (e.g. practicing, playing) requires a shorter distance. If a shorter distance is required, individuals must wear acceptable face coverings, unless players are unable to tolerate a face covering for the physical activity (e.g. practicing, playing); provided, however, that coaches, trainers, and other individuals who are not directly engaged in physical activity are required to wear a face covering. (Pg. 5-6)
      • NOTE: If an official cannot tolerate a face covering while officiating, it is recommended he/ she contact their local department of health for guidance. 
    • Upon conclusion of the contest, officials should leave the contest area and not interact with others. 
    • Officials must pay special attention to playing rules that require distances between players during play. 
    • Reminders should be issued for situations that involve hygiene (spitting, etc.). 
    • Officials should maintain distance from players if an altercation occurs and minimize the times they are within six feet of others. 
    • Officials should be aware of the location of medical personnel while on school property. 
    • Limit the exchanging of documents between officials and others. 
    • Once the contest begins, avoid conversations within six feet with coaches. 
    • Wash hands frequently. 
    • Officials’ Uniforms and Equipment: o Electronic whistles are permissible.
      • Choose a whistle whose tone will carry outside. 
      • Be aware of the increased risk of inadvertent whistles. 

    Bring own towels and hygiene materials. Do not share them with others. 

    GAME DAY: 

    • Complete a personal health assessment on the day of the contest. 
    • Communicate with school athletic administrator prior to the contest pertaining to school expectations. 
    • Upon arrival at the host site and throughout the contest, officials should wash and sanitize hands. 
    • When traveling to contests, considerations should be given to limiting carpooling or traveling with other individuals. 
    • Do not share uniforms, towels, apparel and equipment. 
    • Maintain social distancing of six feet at all times, including while in the locker room and/or on the court/field. 
    • Bring own water bottle or rehydration beverages. 
    • Use a mask when communicating verbally within six feet of others. 
    • To maintain social distancing, officiating positions may need to be changed in a manner that are not necessarily in conformance with standard officiating mechanics. 


    • Limit attendees 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 Toss – should involve only the Head Referee (wearing a face covering) and one captain and head coach from each team. 
    • Move the location of the pregame conference to the center of the court/field. All individuals should maintain a social distance of six feet. 
    • No handshakes are permitted. 
    • Maintain social distancing while performing all pregame responsibilities. 


    • Limit the table 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. 


    • Traditional pre-game introductions should be altered to ensure social distancing occurs. 
    • No shaking hands during introductions. 
    • No postgame handshakes. 


    • Traning
      • Review current and past year rule and case books. 
      • Attend online and in-person meetings to review the rules for the coming year.