Dear Parents, Guardians, Students and Staff:
Today (Sept. 24), State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon shared updated guidance from the Maryland State Department of Education regarding interscholastic athletics across the state. This guidance, entitled Interscholastic Athletic Contingency Season Options, outlines two options for school districts regarding the administration of high school athletics programs.
The first option allows school districts to continue with the current framework outlined in the Two Semester Plan, released by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) on September 11, 2020. The Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) athletics program is currently operating in full compliance with this plan, including the first semester R.A.I.S.E. Reimagined Framework for virtual athletics. Additionally, the COVID-19 Task Force for MCPS Athletics has been planning for the safe return of in-person activities when health metrics allow and in alignment with MCPS operations. Such activities, which include conditioning and skill-based training, are allowed during the first semester, in advance of the proposed start of in-person competition seasons during the second semester. The second semester of the two-semester plan option includes condensed sport seasons—winter, fall and spring.
The second option, which was announced today, allows local school systems to reinstate in-person operations for athletics, including competitions, beginning with the fall sports season on October 7, 2020. School systems have some flexibility within this option to delay the start of the fall season to provide ample time to safely and effectively initiate in-person operations, in alignment with local health metrics and guidelines. The second option also includes slight delays to the traditional start dates of the winter and spring seasons. Additionally, the second option allows for longer seasons and eliminates the overlap between seasons that is currently in the two-semester plan.
MCPS will work closely with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services to review all aspects of these two options. At this time, MCPS will continue with its plans as outlined in our R.A.I.S.E. Reimagined Framework for virtual athletics in order to ensure the health and safety of students, staff members and stakeholders. The implementation of additional extracurricular and fine arts programs and activities, will also be considered when finalizing the safest plan for MCPS Athletics. MCPS understands the importance of student participation in athletics and extracurricular activities and is committed to returning to the in-person delivery of these programs. More information and updates will be shared in the near future.
Montgomery County Public Schools