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October 23rd, 2020 - WINTER SPORTS UPDATE


At the time of this writing, the PAL Board of Directors met to discuss the future of Winter Sports.  As many of you are aware, PAL Basketball try-outs and PAL Wrestling sign-ups typically occur in the month of October annually.  In light of the uncertainty related to the winter sports season, we originally postposed our winter sports "indefinitely".  After consulting with our partners in the community, including the Cranford Public Schools Athletics Department, the PAL Board of Directors has concluded that no PAL winter sports or activities will begin through 2020, with the earliest possibility for activities in January 2021 after the Cranford Public Schools and PAL complete an exhaustive study of current events and best practices.  Currently, the NJSIAA has restricted any indoor sports until December 3rd, 2020.  As such, the Cranford Public Schools, who are our primary sponsor of indoor facilities for our programming, must begin their season and determine what the cleaning process, management of facilities, and the current state of public health before entertaining outside, extra-curricular usage of their space.  We have spoken with our partners at the Cranford Recreation and Parks Department and they too are following this action plan.  Simply - we will re-evaluate the fate of indoor winter sports in January of 2021 and update our PAL community of our findings then.

We understand that this may be a disappointing turn of events for our kids, coaches, parents and community - but as we are an exclusively volunteer-run organization, even if the Cranford Public Schools were able to afford us the opportunity to utilize their indoor space, maintaining the health and wellness of our participants, volunteers and spectators is a major undertaking - one that we can not for certain manage.  Additionally, as the PAL blends participants from multiple schools, should there be an exposure within an indoor facility, this risks affecting multiple groups of students from different schools.  For all of these reason, the PAL, in good conscience, can not rush into opening programming.

We thank you for your patience and understanding and wish you all good health.  Should you have questions, please contact the PAL at 908-709-4313.


D/Lt. Matthew R. Nazzaro
PAL Executive Director


September 30th, 2020 WINTER SPORTS UPDATE


Thank you for your interest in the PAL winter sports registration update.  As you are aware, the Cranford PAL traditionally offers annual wrestling and try-out basketball programming, and this is typically when try-out announcements and registrations would be pushed out to the public.

Unfortunately, due to ongoing concerns related to COVID-19 and the lack of concrete information from our partners at the NJSIAA and local, county, regional and state medical professionals about the fate of indoor sports, the Cranford PAL is POSTPONING our winter sports registration and season indefinitely.  As we use the Cranford Public School properties for practices and competitions, we will continue to follow the lead and direction of the Cranford Public Schools Athletics Department.  The priority for the Cranford Public Schools is maintaining their rigorous cleaning schedule, most of which happens during the evenings when we would utilize their facilities.

Please keep monitoring this page for updates as we will keep you posted about any changes as soon as they emerge.  Thank you for your patience.

D/Lt. Matthew R. Nazzaro
PAL Executive Director


The Cranford PAL has been granted permission by the NJSYFL and Cranford BOE Athletics for a warm up week for tackle football for the week of August 24th 2020. 

1. Each grade level to have assigned one screener per practice/game session. Screener can be a volunteer parent, coach or other responsible individual.
2. Parent/Guardian is to remain onsite until their participant has been cleared through the screening process.
3. Screener must answer the daily questionnaire and have their temperature taken before they will be allowed to screen the rest of the group.
4. All participants, players and coaches, MUST answer all questions on the Google Docs Questionnaire named “2020 Cranford PAL COVID-19 Practice Questionnaire” electronically before entering designated area. Parents/Guardians can answer the questionnaire for the player.
5. Responses to the Questionnaire:
Question #1 – If any of the listed symptoms are checked off, the participant is not allowed to participate that day. They will be allowed to participate if none of the symptoms are checked off. If the symptoms persist, please see a doctor.
Question #2 and #3 - If anyone answers ‘Yes’ to either questions, they will NOT be allowed to practice. Please do not allow your participant to enter the practice field/designated area if any of their answers are ‘Yes’. We are requiring that if the participant answers ‘Yes’ to either question, that they quarantine for a period of 14 days from the last date of exposure. If all answers to the questions are ‘No’, the player may enter the designated area for further screening.
6. There will be an assigned designated area for each grade level to enter each field. The area should be placed in a shaded area to help limit false temperature readings.
7. Screener and player/coach being screened are required to wear a facial covering for the duration of the screening process.
8. Proper distancing of 6’ must be maintained while participant is waiting in the designated area.
9. The Screener is required:
- Ask participant if they have taken the electronic questionnaire. If they answer ‘Yes’, screener can proceed to take their temperature. If the answer is ‘No’, the participant must leave the line and return after submitting the questionnaire.
- Once the participant answers ‘Yes’ that they have taken the electronic questionnaire, the screener can proceed with the temperature check. All participants must have a temperature below 100.4 degrees. If their temperature is 100.4 degrees or higher, they will be asked to leave the field. Protocols regarding return to the practice after a ‘Yes’ on the questionnaire or a higher than 100.4 degrees temperature are based on current NJSIAA guidelines.
10. Once the participant has passed the Questionnaire and Temperature screening, they may enter the field of play.
- Players may remove the facial covering during practice / game but if they do, must continue proper safe distancing of 6’ while the facial covering is not worn.
- Coaches must always have their facial covering on their person. Coaches must wear the facial coverings if they are within 6’ of any player. They may pull down their facial covering if they are able to maintain at least 6’ distance.
11. If any participant has been out of state in a high-risk state or have been around a COVID-19 positive patient, you must quarantine from the program for 14 days. If you test positive for COVID-19 you must be symptom free for at least 3 days and cleared by a doctor prior to returning.

See attached. "CRANFORD PAL FOOTBALL DAILY PRE-SCREENING PROCEDURES". These guidelines have been approved by the Cranford PAL and the BOE and are required to be followed in order for us to use the fields.


covid-19 policy and return to play rules 082420.pdf

Listing of high risk states, defined by State of NJ


To Our PAL Community-

The Cranford PAL has been monitoring the recent regulatory provisions released by the State of New Jersey commonly called “Phase 1” and “Phase 2”.  It is worth noting that these regulations relate to the NJSIAA scholastic sports summer conditioning and practices (skills and drills) and not to “club” team sports.  That being said, the Cranford PAL follows the New Jersey Suburban Youth Football League (NJSYFL) and the NJSIAA because both leagues set the standards in safety due to their access to medical professionals, professional staffers, and those individuals monitoring the daily changes to COVID-19 mandates from the State of New Jersey.

We recently concluded our survey period which aimed to gather feedback from our past participants and their families.  I have attached the comprehensive survey results to this email, and I have provided itemized results (program-specific data) to each Program Director.  The purpose of this survey was to give parents a voice about what expectations they may have in advance of the season.  As a result of this survey, we have determined that out of 228 respondents, 38% of the respondents stated that COVID-19 impacts their decision in any way to have their child participate in the Fall 2020 season.  Additionally, nearly 50% of the respondents were either non-committal or disagreed in some form when asked if their child would unconditionally participate in spite of any regulations released by the NJSIAA and NJSYFL.  It should be noted that 48% of the respondents indicated their child was eligible for tackle football, 19% for flag football, and 25% for cheer.  In addition to selecting answers, parents were able to provide feedback.  Some of the noteworthy comments related to asking about testing procedures before practices and games, determining whether COVID-19 will spike again, not sharing water, snacks, or equipment, and confusion about whether our outdoor sports are considered high risk, medium risk or low risk.  Emotions are clearly involved as well, understandably so.  Some disagree with the mandate to have people wear masks, some disagree with the government’s position on social distancing, and some believe that we must carry on business as usual.  I can assert in no uncertain terms:  Our programming will not look like past seasons this Fall.  Our focus will be on the safety and health of our children.  There is nothing more important than our kids’ health.

The NJSYFL has ordered that the season will not begin until September 14, 2020.  This means there will be no practices until this date, with the possibility of practices opening earlier should the NJSYFL allow it.  To quote NJSYFL Commissioner Russ Yeager, “if you take [it] upon your own program to hold workouts we will simply send you an email to conclude your season at that point.”  At this point, the PAL is mandating that practices, whether organized or grassroots, shall not occur before that date.  While the NJSYFL governs Tackle Football, to ensure consistency, this date will be applicable to PAL Tackle, Flag and Cheer.  Should the NJSYFL determine that members of the PAL are violating this mandate, we risk having our season altogether.  If the PAL determines that there is an unsanctioned practice involving PAL participants, this risks your child’s eligibility to participate in the Fall 2020 season  Our partners at the Cranford Public Schools Athletics Department have informed me that they will be ensuring that fields and BOE properties are only used when a use-permit has been registered through their administrative offices.  I understand that there is a desire to condition our athletes, but that is why the start of competition has been pushed back to October 1, 2020.  Please comply.

It should also be noted that there will be capital expenses required for our program to begin, including but not limited to budgeting for safety equipment and personnel, sanitizing stations, repetitive and persistent cleaning of our rest rooms, possible modifications to helmets, infrared thermometers for each team, and many more unknowns.  These additional funding requirements are aggravated by our decision to keep the PAL Snackstand closed during this season, which in the past would offset our Fall program expenses.  The Snackstand is already a cumbersome responsibility and the additional food-establishment protocols mandated by the State of New Jersey would be too large an undertaking for our volunteer staffing. 

There is a strong possibility that registration fees this season will be increased to accommodate for anticipated and unforeseen expenses.  As a result, we will be offering refunds up until September 14, 2020, but not afterwards.  Once the season begins, your child’s registration will be non-refundable.  This means that if the season is cut short due to a spike in COVID-19 or by order of the governor or schools, we may be unable to refund your child’s registration fees. 

Our Cheer program typically places uniform orders by July 1, 2020.  This is obviously not a possibility this season.  As a result, we may modify our uniforms as “cougar gear” to ensure that we do not put a mandate on our families to purchase uniforms that may not be used this season.  After consulting with Director Emily Fuentes, we will only offer Cheer for 4th through 8th grade athletes this year, presumably the majority of which who participated in the past and are not required to purchase new equipment such as shoes. 

As for Flag Football, the format will be a “skills and drills” only style of learning the fundamentals of football with limited “competition” or scrimmaging.  No individuals other than registered coaches will be allowed at practices or on the fields. 

Spectators must socially distance while within Memorial Field and when not practicable, must adorn masks - especially when entering and leaving the facility or using the restrooms.  In addition to coaches and players, there is a strong possibility that all spectators may be required to have their temperature taken before attending any event.  We also must ensure that we do not exceed the amount of attendees at any PAL event.  If we reach maximum capacity, spectators may be turned away at the gate.

I have voiced to Program Directors Andrew Hooey, Chris Coccaro and Emily Fuentes that as much as we can control in the Cranford PAL, we are not able to ensure that our counterparts in the NJSYFL are adhering to safety provisions as strictly as we will.  We will be mandating that parents sign-off on medical and liability waivers that confirm that your child has received a medical exam prior to participating and is clear to participate, with no symptoms of COVID-19.  If your child is exposed to an individual who, through contact tracing, was positive for COVID-19, we will be mandating a 14-day quarantine from PAL activities.  The PAL will be adhering to the “risk level” chart rules issued by the New Jersey Department of Health.  Waivers may also include a provision about holding the PAL harmless in the case of a COVID-19 exposure related PAL activities.  I have asked our Program Directors to coordinate with their volunteer staff to appoint one safety director per program who will oversee their sport’s compliance with the NJSYFL and NJSIAA regulations.  From there, each team must appoint a safety manager to ensure that our kids are at proper temperature, using hygienic practices, and maintaining proper social distancing.  Most of these provisions are self-governed, and we would rely heavily on parents and children to be open and honest about potential signs and symptoms of illness. 

Lastly, when our children are returning to school in a modified format, the PAL must closely monitor any changes to the schools’ scheduling in response to COVID-19 and mirror their response.  We are collectively the Cranford Community, and our kids are our kids – whether in a school or on a field.  If schools close due to a concern about the safety of our children, our season closes at that same moment for that same reason.

I know this message will probably disappoint, or even anger some of our parents.  The buck stops here.  The Cranford PAL Executive Board and Board of Directors consist of volunteer police officers, parents, coaches, community stakeholders, and members of our school community.  We must continue to make decisions that ensure the safety of our kids while maintaining the long-term health of our organization.  We exist for the kids – and want desperately to provide them with an opportunity to get out and compete with their friends in the Fall.  All of us want a return to normalcy.  We must do it the right way, even if we debate how the right way makes us feel. We have heard many opinions about how and what we could be doing, but as we have committed earlier, we will be following the lead of our NJSYFL and NJSIAA and Cranford Public Schools Athletics Department. 

Lastly, thank you all for your ongoing patience and understanding.  Once we open registrations and pass this hurdle, our next hurdle is ensuring that we have enough participants to field a roster. At each crossroad, we will pause and keep you informed.  After registrations, please expect correspondence from your Program Directors to give you specific information about your child’s respective programming.

Please take note of the 2 attachments included in this [message].  The first is the survey results with comments, and the second is the risk assessment chart from the NJ Department of Health.

survey comprehensive pal programs 2020 public.pdf

covid-19 risk level.pdf

D/Sgt. Matthew R. Nazzaro
PAL Executive Director

May 19, 2020

Re:  PAL Fall Sports Registration – Tackle, Flag, and Cheerleading


To Our Cranford PAL Community-

The Cranford PAL traditionally opens annual online Fall Sports Registrations on Memorial Day and extends the enrollment period through Independence Day.  As a result of the fluid circumstances and restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be delaying our registration open date until more details emerge from our federal, state and local partners.  Specifically, we will be following guidance set forth by the State of New Jersey, the Township of Cranford, the Cranford Board of Education, the NJSIAA and of course the New Jersey Suburban Youth Football League (NJSYFL).  In the past, our seasons would begin in mid-August and extend until late October/early November.  

Please rest assured that we will be closely monitoring any developments and in turn will keep you informed and up to date as details emerge.  

Thank you for your patience.



D/Sgt. Matthew R. Nazzaro
Executive Director
Cranford PAL

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P.O. Box 1021 / 8 Springfield Avenue 
Cranford, New Jersey 07016

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Phone : 908-709-4313
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