School systems in Maryland will have the option to decide if they would like to reintroduce falls sports starting Oct. 7, Gov. Larry Hogan and the state’s superintendent of schools announced Thursday.
A news release from the governor’s office said the decision was made after each of the state’s 24 school jurisdictions submitted their plans for bringing students back for in-person instruction.
“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,” Hogan said in a statement. ” … allowing fall sports to begin next month marks another important step on our road to recovery.”
The release also outlines the potential dates of the 2020 fall sports season.
Schools will be able to bring back cross-country, field hockey, football, golf, soccer and volleyball this fall.
Practices can begin Oct. 7, and the first day of competition can be held Oct. 27, except in the case of golf, which can begin competitive play Oct. 7.
The last day of play under the state’s guidelines would be Dec. 12, and the culminating events or tournaments would be held Dec. 14-19.
“High school sports and competition are deeply rooted in the fabric of our schools and communities,” said Maryland Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon. “The steps taken today are directly related to the need of our students to be active and engaged for their physical, social, and emotional well-being.”
The start dates to winter and spring sports have also been moved back under the guidelines to prevent overlap of sports seasons.
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School districts’ plans
So far, 11 local school systems have announced plans to bring students back to school campuses for in-person athletics this fall. They are: Allegany, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Carroll, Charles, Cecil, Frederick, Garrett, St. Mary’s, Washington and Worcester counties.
Prince George’s County: Prince George’s County Public Schools said they do not have a comment yet on their plan for fall sports.
Montgomery County: Montgomery County Public Schools said they will be discussing the plans for reintroducing athletics with the county’s health department and would provide an update in the near future. In the meantime, they plan to go forward with an earlier plan for virtual athletics.
Charles County: Charles County Public Schools had previously released a plan to begin fall sports practices Oct. 5. The school district said those plans are still in place, and that they will be communicating with the superintendents of other school districts to come up with a schedule for competitive play.
Howard County: Howard County Public Schools said they would need to analyze the governor’s guidance further before making a decision on how to proceed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.