Montgomery Co. schools update COVID policy for team sports after outbreaks at 5 schools

Montgomery County Public Schools has updated its COVID-19 policy for winter sports participation after getting “new guidance” from local health officials.

The new restrictions come a week after a coronavirus outbreak put the boys’ varsity and junior varsity basketball teams’ season on hold at Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville, Md.

County school spokesperson Chris Cram said under the new guidance, if there are five or more active cases on an athletic team, all activities — games and practices — will be put on hold for 14 days from the date of the last known exposure or team activity.

As of Tuesday night, the new guidelines have impacted teams at five high schools — Paint Branch, Magruder, Poolesville, Blake and Sherwood.

Cram said the revised policy would not affect all teams at the impacted schools, Only those specific teams that had reported five or more active cases would be put on hold.

He called the updated policy “unfortunate but necessary to mitigate the spread of the virus,” and team activities would be rescheduled when possible.

The school system also updated information on protocols for athletics, including changing its mask policy at certain events.

In its update from Dec. 10, the MCPS athletics guidelines now state that “student-athletes must wear masks on the bench, when not actively participating” at basketball games.

Similar rules currently apply to wrestling matches: Student-athletes on the bench have to wear masks but not wear face coverings when wrestling.

Montgomery County’s updated team sports policy can be read online.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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