One day after high school athletes gathered for a “Let Them Play” rally at Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Company, the Anne Arundel County Board of Education adopted a two-semester plan for high school sports on October 6. Under the adopted plan, out-of-season practices can begin October 19, but teams will not compete in games until February 2021.
The two-semester plan put forth by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) features three five-week competitive seasons beginning on February 1 and ending June 19. Winter sports would compete first, followed by fall and then spring sports. The plan has been approved by the Maryland Department of Health, the Public School Superintendents’ Association of Maryland, and the Maryland State Department of Education.
AACPS and local school systems had been presented with a plan to begin fall sports in October, but, citing “logistics” as a concern, AACPS opted for a hybrid of the MPSSAA’s original plan.
The adopted plan also provides each county flexibility to engage students in out-of-season programs during the fall semester. AACPS’ plan offers three four-week sessions (one for each traditional athletic season). Athletes in fall sports would practice from October 19 through November 14; those in spring sports would practice from November 18 through December 19; and those in winter sports would practice from January 4 through January 30. There would be no traditional tryouts or cuts, thus opening opportunities to more students to participate.
Teams will hold two in-person sessions and one virtual session per week per sports. Student-athletes would work in groups of 50 and be kept together. Standard tracking forms would be used for attendance and potential contact tracing.
Safety and sanitization plans will be in place for all gatherings.
Local school system superintendents are pushing to move the February 2021 competition date to December 2020, something AACPS Superintendent George Arlotto and Coordinator of Athletics Clayton Culp said AACPS could accommodate.
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