The Board of Education tonight unanimously adopted a two-semester plan for high school athletics that will see out-of-season practices begin on October 19 and teams compete in contests beginning in February 2021.
In choosing the plan over a second option that would have brought about fall sports later this month, the Board strongly encouraged the allowance of interscholastic high school scrimmages. The scrimmages were not a part of the plan presented to the Board by Superintendent George Arlotto and Coordinator of Athletics Clayton Culp.
The two-semester plan put forth by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) features three five-week long competitive seasons beginning on Feb. 1, 2021, and ending June 19, 2021. 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.
The plan also provides each county flexibility to engage students in out-of-season programs during the fall semester. AACPS’ plan, which has been approved by the Anne Arundel County Department of Health, offers three four-week long 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 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 Dr. Arlotto and Mr. Culp said AACPS could accommodate.
Dr. Arlotto and members of his team also discussed with Board members the work that is under way to allow extracurricular activities such as marching band, dance company, drama clubs, and robotics and similar academic-oriented clubs to take place this semes