In an effort to provide information and updates to the community about the impact of COVID-19 on the upcoming Fall sports season (and beyond), MCPS Athletics has created a COVID-19 Athletics Information page.
Here are the latest updates from MCPS and MPSSAA.
Brief synopsis: MCPS announced there will be virtual engagement for athletics during the first semester and a plan for in-person competition seasons for Fall, Winter and Spring sports in the second semester. Details for the virtual engagement in the first semester can be found on the MCPS Athletics website, as well as registration information on the Blake website. Information about the second semester in-person seasons has been posted on the MPSSAA website.
COVID-19 ATHLETICS INFORMATION
Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) interscholastic athletics has developed the Return to R.A.I.S.E. Strategic Plan, which will guide the safe return of the MCPS interscholastic athletics program, due to COVID-19. The initial phase of this plan is currently being applied to the virtual delivery of the MCPS interscholastic athletics program. Subsequent phases will provide guidance to the in-person operations of MCPS Athletics and align with guidance from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA), Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and Montgomery County health and safety mandates and recommendations. Additional information and resources are being outlined below to assist student-athletes, families, and coaches through this process. The most current updates regarding COVID-19 and the in-person operations of MCPS Athletics will be posted on this web page. For more information regarding the virtual delivery of MCPS Athletics, please visit the R.A.I.S.E. Reimagined web page.
MCPS Athletics Status – Current
MCPS Athletics & Extracurricular Activities Update – Letter from October 26, 2020
Latest updates from the MPSSAA: MPSSAA Interscholastic Athletic Competition Season Update
- MCPS is currently in Phase 1 of the Return to R.A.I.S.E. Strategic Plan.
- Phase 1 of the Return to R.A.I.S.E. Strategic plan will guide operations until further notice. No in-person activities, including conditioning, are allowed.
- All sports may be operating in the Lowest Risk: Performing skill-building drills or conditioning at home, alone or with family members, per Phase 1 of the Return to R.A.I.S.E. Strategic Plan.
- School coaching staffs may meet virtually regarding sport-specific instruction with up to two returning student-athletes per day, per MPSSAA regulations.
MCPS Athletics Previous Announcements
- September 24, 2020 – Roadmap to Return – Two Semester Plan & 80% Rule Clarifications & FAQ Scenarios
- July 30, 2020 – MCPS Athletics & Extracurricular Activities Update
- July 21, 2020 – MCPS Athletics Update – Fall and Winter Cancellation
- July 17, 2020 – Return to R.A.I.S.E. July 17 Update (and Return to R.A.I.S.E. Plan Phase 1)
- July 17, 2020 – MCPS Athletics Update Overview from Dr. Sullivan
- July 14, 2020 – MPSSAA is currently still moving forward with plans to start the fall season on 8/12/20
- July 1, 2020 – Return to R.A.I.S.E. July 1 Update (and Return to R.A.I.S.E. Plan Phase 1)
- June 15, 2020 – Return to R.A.I.S.E. June 15 Update (and Return to R.A.I.S.E. Plan Phase 1)
- May 29, 2020 – Return to R.A.I.S.E. Strategic Plan Phase 1
Information for Student-Athletes and Parents
- Virtual Seasons – Athletic Registration – All students participating in the fall, winter, and spring virtual seasons, as part of the MCPS interscholastic athletics program, must complete the online registration process. Registration is done electronically through the school specific athletics registration link posted on the school’s website. Students must have a valid physical on file with the school. Given the unprecedented circumstances, for students who are unable to secure an updated physical, MCPS will extend the expiration date of an existing physical by one calendar year. To the extent a student does not have a physical on file with the school, the student will need to obtain one. Due to the strenuous nature of selected activities, each student is encouraged to consult their physician concerning fitness to participate in the program. During any live engagement, parents/guardians and students must ensure that surroundings are free of obstacles and that an appropriate plan is in place on how to access help in the event of an emergency.Student-athlete participation in the first semester of virtual seasons does not guarantee or impact placement on a team roster during second semester.
- As part of the online registration process for MCPS Athletics, students and parents/guardians must review key COVID-19 resources recommended by the Maryland State Department of Education, and complete a pledge form that acknowledges completion of the form and agreement to stated conditions of participation. The pledge form also includes acknowledgment of the symptom free requirements from the CDC for attendance at any gathering or event. The resources that are required readings for MCPS Athletics are:
- What you should know about COVID-19 to protect yourself and others
- Share facts about COVID-19
- Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children(MIS-C)
- COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions from the Maryland State Health Department
- COVID-19 Awareness: Parent/Student-Athlete Participation Acknowledgement Statements
- New – Waiver of Liability & Hold Harmless Release Related to COVID-19 for Participation in Interscholastic Athletics – In addition to the MSDE/MPSSAA acknowledgement form above, families must complete this MCPS form to participate in Athletic Activities.
- Pre-participation Physical Evaluation Form (MCPS Form SR-8 with new MPSSAA COVID-19 supplemental questions) – This form is valid for one year (for high school athletes) and two years (for middle school athletes) from the date of the exam and covers participation for all sports within that time period. This form must be completed and/or on file before a student-athlete can participate. All new physicals as of July 20, 2020 must include the COVID-19 supplemental information.
- Eligibility – the Montgomery County Board of Education took action on academic eligibility for extracurricular activities. The Board approved an exemption to the academic eligibility policy for 4th marking period during the 2019-2020 school year and the first semester for the 2020-2021 school year. Therefore, all secondary students are eligible now and will remain academically eligible for the first and second marking periods of the 2020-2021 school year.
- Information on how to Submit Electronic Signatures from Parents or Guardians for current forms.
Information for Coaches and Athletic Departments
- NFHS Course – COVID-19 for Coaches and Administrators
COVID-19 Task Force for MCPS Athletics
- A task force has been meeting to plan and implement the Return to R.A.I.S.E. Strategic Plan and plan for the safe return of the MCPS athletics program.
- The guiding principles for the task force are:
- Promoting our core values of equity and access to allow for the participation for ALL students.
- Ensuring the gradual, safe return of student-athletes to in-person participation in interscholastic athletic activities.
- Maximizing participation opportunities, including the timely implementation and incremental transition to new phases.
- Providing ongoing communication regarding the current operations of the MCPS Athletics program, in alignment with state and local guidelines, considerations, and recommendations.
- The task force consists of the representation of central athletics unit, athletics specialists (ADs), principals coaches, officials, athletic trainers, transportation, facilities, systemwide safety, extracurricular activities, and fine arts. Recommendations will be shared with MCPS leadership and county health officials for review and approval, to ensure alignment with MCPS and county operational and health guidelines.
Scheduling Athletic Contests for 2020-2021
In planning for a variety of possible scenarios, MCPS Athletics is currently scheduling for the following contingencies in regard to games/contests:
- Regular schedule
- Delayed start to the fall season
- 4-6 week “pod” of contests that could potentially be moved and shifted, as needed throughout the school year
- Only in-county competition
- Most MCPS divisions are geographically based by school location. This shapes up nicely, per CDC guidelines, if we need to only compete in clusters of schools, by sport.
- Preliminary discussion on local-school intramurals
- Virtual engagement opportunities
MCPS and Athletic Resources
- MCPS Coronavirus site
- MCPS Fall Heat Plan
- MCPS Heat & Hydration Resources
- MPSSAA Roadmap for Return of Interscholastic Athletics (COVID-19 Updates) Page
- Current Roadmap Document – Last Update was on July 14, 2020
- Next Updates are scheduled for July 21st, July 28th, and August 4th
- MPSSAA guidance regarding heat acclimatization and heat related illnesses
- NFHS Guidance for Opening Up High School Athletics and Activities
- NFHS Article: “The Case for High School Activities”
State and Local Government Resources
- Montgomery County Government COVID-19 Information Portal
- State of Maryland Department of Health Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak
- CDC Considerations for Youth Sports
We will continue to post information and share with the Blake community as it becomes available.
Feel free to reach out to Mr. Jared Fribush, Athletics Specialist at Blake High School, with any questions.