Frederick County Public Schools announced it will resume winter sports activities on Monday after a three-week pause caused by rising cases of COVID-19 in the area.
The decision, released Wednesday, was reached in collaboration with the Frederick County Health Department and the school system’s Return to Play subcommittee.
Athletes in basketball, wrestling, indoor track and field, and swimming and diving will return Monday for one week of practice and/or intrasquad scrimmages before starting a condensed winter season that will run from Feb. 1 through Feb. 12, according to a statement posted on the FCPS website.
The FCPS plan remains in place for the brief winter sports season to be followed immediately by a six-week fall season that’s scheduled to begin Feb. 13, then a spring season that would go from April 17 to June 19, per guidelines set forth by the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association.
“FCPS has remained committed to providing our student-athletes with the opportunity to compete again,” the statement said. “Although the winter competition season will be short, we are excited that our student-athletes will be able to put on their uniform and represent their school.”
Winter sports athletes — except for swimmers and divers in the water — will be required to wear face coverings during indoor practices and competition, while on the sideline/bench during competition and when not socially distanced outside.
No spectators will be permitted to attend FCPS sporting events, but schools will livestream events via YouTube.
Public school sporting events have not taken place among Frederick County teams since mid-March 2020, when the MPSSAA basketball playoffs were halted before the semifinals due to the coronavirus. The MPSSAA canceled the 2020 spring season on April 28, then postponed the 2020 fall and 2020-21 winter seasons on Aug. 3.
Carroll County is the only county in the state to currently be holding winter sports competition, which began there in early January. Anne Arundel County canceled winter sports competition Wednesday, while Howard and Baltimore counties did the same earlier this month.
At St. John’s Catholic Prep, a Frederick private school, girls basketball started activities Sunday ahead of a season that’s slated to start Feb. 14, after being cleared to return by the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland. St. John’s boys basketball plans to begin practicing Sunday for a season that is expected to be held later in February.
Frederick Christian Academy and New Life Christian, along with the homeschool Frederick Warriors and Frederick Force programs, have been playing basketball games this winter.