But the Board of Ed will decide if Frederick County Schools will restart fall sports in October.
Frederick, Md (KM) Local schools in Maryland have been given the go-ahead to resume their sports programs. During a visit to Frederick on Thursday, Dr. Karen Salmon, the State Superintendent of Schools, announced that school systems can begin conditioning and practicing on October 7th, and competition can resume on October 27th.
“All practices and preparations should be in accordance with COMAR-required practice regulations. Golf competitions can begin immediately on October 7th,” says Dr. Salmon.
But any decision to resume fall sports will be up to local Boards of Education. “Local school systems who choose not to restart the fall sports season on October 7th may use the second-semester plan option as previously announced,” Dr. Salmon says.
She spoke at a news conference following a tour of the Frederick County Career and Technology Center. Governor Larry Hogan also accompanied her. He was asked about the timing of this decision. “The timing of the announcement is that our health metrics have hit record lows every single day of the past week, and we’ve been trending downwards for more than three months,” he said. “Because we now have all 24 jurisdictions with a plan to bring some kids back in class, we thought it was time to address this. We’ve been working on this for months.”
Schools were closed earlier this year to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This fall, many school systems are holding classes virtually.
Frederick County Board of Education President Brad Young says this announcement took him by surprise. “It didn’t seem to be a lot of clarity to how you do that with proper health protocols,” he said. “I know one reporter was asking about how you do that and colleges are testing and we don’t have the money or ability to do that.”
He was asked if Frederick County will be starting up its fall sports next month. “I can’t speak for the Board. We haven’t discussed it,”: he responded. “The next regularly scheduled meeting is October 7th. I think it’s a little late to be making that kind of announcement for fall sports.”
Currently, the Frederick County School System is allowing conditioning for student athletes, with the anticipation that school sports will start up in February, Young says.
He says any plan to resume fall sports in Frederick County will be reviewed by the Return to Play Committee before the Board of Ed takes a vote. “At this point, it will go to them. They would take a look at it and bring any recommendations back to the board,” says Young.
During the news conference, Governor Hogan said he’s heard from citizens who want to restart school sports. “I haven’t taken any survey, but I can tell you that there’ve been parents clamoring and protesting outside of my house in Annapolis, and showing up on ZOOM meetings at state and local county boards, really pushing,” he said.
Dr. Salmon said this decision to allow school systems to resume fall sports came following discussions with the Maryland State Board of Education, all 24 local school districts and the Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association.
Even though any decision is up to local school boards, Dr. Salmon hopes they will all bring back fall sports. “Each school system can select whatever option best addresses the conditions in their jurisdictions,” she said. “But we encourage systems that have or are continuing to bring students back into schools to consider allowing athletics to resume.”
By Kevin McManus