Frederick County Public Schools took another baby step Monday to conducting a fall sports season by setting July 13 as a target date for summer conditioning and re-acclimatization activities.
There are still many details to be worked out and FCPS could push the date back if it felt like it wasn’t ready to proceed. But the school system’s recently formed COVID-19 Return to Play Committee wanted to get the ball rolling on a potential fall sports season almost exactly one month before the first day of scheduled practices on Aug. 12.
“It gives our student athletes some optimism,” said Kevin Kendro, supervisor of athletics and extracurricular activities. “We are working hard. We want to have all the logistics in place for a safe and responsible return for interscholastic athletics.”
Many of those logistics still needed to be ironed out, such as what will be permitted on July 13.
Right now, it is just broadly being defined as conditioning and re-acclimatization activities. That would include running, speed-and-agility drills and some body-weight exercises.
Kendro indicated that more specifics would be forthcoming about what is and isn’t allowed.
Will any indoor activities be allowed? Will the athletes have the opportunity to lift weights, even in an outdoor setting? Will there be any restrictions on the size of the gatherings?
“We still have a lot of work ahead of us,” Kendro said. “There are a lot of decisions and procedures that still have to be put in place.”
According to a press release issued by FCPS, students who wish to participate in summer athletic activities will be required to have an updated Pre-participation Physical Evaluation (sports physical) that is recommended by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA).
Incoming high school freshmen, students who are new to FCPS, and students who did not participate in a sport last school year must provide documentation of a sports physical dated April 1, 2020 or after.
Returning student-athletes may use documentation of a sports physical dated April 1, 2019 or after, but it is preferred that they submit documentation that reflects a more recent date.
All students who want to participate in 2020-2021 fall, winter, and spring sports — regardless of past participation — will be required to have a sports physical dated April 1, 2020 or after.
“If we are allowed to do stuff [July 13], we need to start to hit the ground running and do what we can,” said Kurt Stein, the head football coach at Oakdale High School. “We are going to be way behind in terms of scheme and skill. But, right now, all I am thinking about is safety.”
Ordinarily, FCPS football players spend their summers participating in a structured weightlifting program at the schools and 7-on-7 passing competitions.
But none of those things are currently happening due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Our kids normally do such a nice job during the offseason of being in shape by the time we start official practices,” Stein said. “They are used to being in a rhythm and doing things at certain times. I am just concerned that they are going to be out of their normal rhythm. That’s more of what I am worried about.”
News-Post reporter Katryna Perera contributed to this report