Sports will return to Maryland schools starting Wednesday, October 7th.
Governor Larry Hogan and state Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon made the announcement Thursday in Frederick. They say discussions involving the State Board of Education, the 24 school jurisdictions, parents and the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association led to a plan to resume scholastic sports.
“Getting our kids back on the playing field and allowing youth sports to resume this fall is critical for the social and mental well-being of our students,” said Governor Hogan. “Now that all 24 jurisdictions have submitted plans to resume in-person instruction, allowing fall sports to begin next month marks another important step on our road to recovery.”
Players, coaches and spectators will be required to observe numerous safety protocols.
The Hogan administration released these details about the plan for scholastic sports:
October 7 Option For Fall Sports.
- All school systems shall, as soon as possible, provide conditioning and training opportunities utilizing the current available options provided by the MPSSAA.
- On October 7, 2020, all local school systems may choose to begin formal fall sport season practices in preparation for a competition season which will begin on October 27. All practices and preparation must be in accordance with Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) required practice regulations, and all face covering and public health protocols established by the state and local health departments.
- The state is expanding the seasonal competition timeframes as previously announced for all winter and spring sports within this plan.
- The October 7 option provides for seven weeks of competition for fall sports—including cross country, field hockey, football, golf, soccer, and volleyball:
- First available practice date: October 7, 2020
- First available competition date: October 27, 2020 (Golf may resume competition on October 7, 2020.)
- Last play date: December 12, 2020
- Culminating event/tournament: December 14-19, 2020
- With the October 7 option, winter sports can begin practice on December 14, and spring sports can begin practice on January 4. Additional details will be provided by MPSSAA.
- Local school systems that choose not to exercise the October 7 option for fall sports may utilize the Second Semester Plan option as previously announced.
Return to Play Timeline.
- On June 10, Dr. Salmon announced that outdoor high school sports may resume practice and training activities within the same guidelines for youth sports programs.
- On June 12, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) issued a directive allowing all youth sports to begin resuming.
- On July 7, the MPSSAA released a return to play guidance document requiring each local school system to assemble a Return to Play Committee. Within that document, the MPSSAA states: “The MPSSAA will issue additional detailed guidance periodically, as deemed necessary by the state’s movement toward phase three and schools operating under a new modified sense of normalcy.”
- The “Maryland Together” Recovery Plan for Education required school systems to include preparations for a return to play in their reopening plans that were due on August 14.
- As of today, Maryland is currently one of only seven states to have no fall competition.
Capacity and Spectator Limits. In addition to face coverings and social distancing guidelines, schools must follow all capacity and spectator limits set by the Maryland Department of Health.