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Governor Wolf dives deeper into reasoning behind Fall sports recommendation

"We need them to be in school... Anytime, we do something to interfere with that, we're doing all of Pennsylvania a disservice," said Governor Wolf.

YORK, Pa. — During a press conference Thursday afternoon in York, Governor Wolf dove deeper into his reasoning behind the strong recommendation youth sports be cancelled until January 2021. 

Governor Wolf made the recommendation last Thursday at the end of a news conference -- sparking outrage, frustration, and sadness from some PA lawmakers, coaches, players, and parents.

Meantime, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine cited data from a youth sports camp in Georgia where a COVID-19 outbreak occurred for the recommendation. The health secretary said the state did not have data on how many student athletes tested positive for COVID-19 during summer workouts or any outbreaks. Dr. Levine said data collection and subsequent contact tracing will occur in the coming weeks if and when fall sports happen at PA schools.

FOX43 asked Governor Wolf why the state considered data from Georgia instead of other states where outbreaks have not been reported.

"Pennsylvania has not made any directive," Governor Wolf said when asked. "I was asked at last press conference, two press conferences ago about fall sports - I recommended we don't have them until January 1st."

When asked about his reasoning for the recommendation, Governor Wolf drew from his own experience.

"I am a parent. My kids went to school. My kids were PIAA athletes," said Gov. Wolf. "Fall sports was cross country, and you would think cross country would be the least likely to have a spread, but all of us parents, spectators would congregate at the end of the finish line, and that's a place for the virus to spread."

RELATED: Dr. Levine says there "isn't a lot of granular data" that led to no sports until 2021 recommendation, cites national data

In addition to the concern over crowds at athletic events, the Governor also expressed concern over athletes crossing county and state boundaries. 

"Whether it's a directive or a recommendation, to the extent we do those things, we make it harder and harder for our kids to get the education we need them to get. We need them to be in school. We need them to get back to learning, and anytime, we do something to interfere with that, we're doing all of Pennsylvania a disservice. So, that's where that comes from."

The Governor reiterated it is only a recommendation. He said school districts ultimately have the final say if they so choose to play.

"School districts are going to do what they want. This is my recommendation. It was then, and it still is."

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