The Maine Principals' Association and state officials have agreed on a plan that would allow several interscholastic sports to be played this fall, but would push football and volleyball to the spring. The groups announced the new guidelines Thursday.
In a letter to athletic administrators, the MPA said that it had reached agreement on guidelines for how schools can resume sports this fall. The guidelines specify that most fall sports, including soccer and field hockey, are considered safe and can be played with proper precautions. But the MPA says that it will not be able to sponsor tackle football or indoor volleyball this fall, and it will work to provide a season in late winter or early Spring instead.
The MPA is also not allowing any indoor practices this fall, and it says that if a county is designated "yellow" or "red" by the state's color-coded risk assessment system, no practices or games can be held until the county is designated green.
The decision comes after state officials raised concerns with the MPA's original plan, which would have allowed all sports to resume this fall. Last week, the MPA agreed to delay the beginning of the fall season until September 14 to work through those concerns.
The new guidance was encouraging to Old Town High School Football Coach Lance Cowan. Cowan says he appreciates the fact that the new agreement should eventually allow for a tackle football season and will provide potential alternatives for students this fall, including 7-on-7 football.
“We're going to take what's best. And the best part of it is that, as of right now, we still have a tackle football season. While it may not be in the fall, these kids will still be able to get out there and compete.”
But local officials say that even with the new guidelines, several issues will need to be worked out over the next few weeks. They include the finalization of local districts' individual athletic plans, as many are planning to limit travel for games to only nearby schools. Other issues may include how to limit spectators and safely transport student athletes to and from games.