by GEOFF FOX
While students in neighboring counties and states have started their fall sport seasons, Washington County athletes won’t be joining them until later this month.
Washington County Public Schools announced Monday it will be welcoming more students back to classrooms as it moves into Stage 3 in their Return to Learn plan on Monday, October 12.
Extracurricular activities, including competitive sports will also return later this month, starting Tuesday, October 27.
Voluntary in-person conditioning and skills-based activities is going on now with select sports.
“We encourage students to participate in these opportunities to prepare for potential competition and to realize the benefits of these team activities, “ Superintendent Boyd Michael said.
Hancock Middle Senior Principal Amanda Mulledy said coaches have been working together to develop a schedule for conditioning and sport-specific skills workshop for Panther fall sport athletes.
New schedules mean student athletes could be playing abbreviated season for the remainder of the school year.
Student-athletes and coaches are working together to ensure the safety of everyone involved, she said.
“Athletes must check in with the Athletic Trainer upon arriving to the school,” Mulledy said.
With Stage 3 of the county school re-entry plan starting on Monday, WCPS said athletics and other extracurricular activities would be expanded to allow competitive events.
Competitive interscholastic sports will begin on or after October 27 with conditioning expanding to traditional practices on October 12.
Students, coaches, and instructors will be following CDC guidelines regarding their specific activity and participants continuing to follow the same check-in procedures at practice and meetings to support contact tracing if necessary.
Contact among all participants will be limited, and students should not share towels, water bottles, on-person gear, or other personal items.
There will a limit on spectators at the events as well under guidance and order of the Maryland Department of Health.
Right now, up to 50% capacity or 100 people (whichever is less) can attend indoor contests. Up to 50% or 250 people (whichever is less) can attend outdoor events.
WCPS will be releasing more information regarding schedules and spectator plans soon.
Mulledy said all coaching staff and athletes maintain a six-foot distance from one another, and groups are to be 25 years apart when outside. One group can access the weight room or gym area at a time.
“Athletes bring their own water bottles and do not share any items with others,” she said. “Each sport is using limited equipment and no contact activities are permitted.”
Coaches’ goals are to get kids together, condition, and enjoy their sports as much as possible within the guidelines developed to keep the participants safe, she added.