Basketball season openers in late February, football games in April and baseball games in mid-June.
Such scenarios would’ve once seemed unimaginable for Frederick County Public Schools athletes. But those schedule anomalies are now on tap for local high school teams, according to the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association’s plan for the return of interscholastic athletics.
The plan, which was announced on Friday, calls for fall, winter and spring sports competitions to all be held during the second semester of the 2020-21 school year, a modification that follows the postponement of fall and winter sports until the second semester because of the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of its two-semester plan called “Roadmap for Return to Interscholastic Athletics and Extracurricular Activities,” the MPSSAA has allotted each sports season five weeks for interscholastic athletic competition.
The resumption of sports in the second semester begins with the winter sports season. Winter season practices and reconditioning will be held from Feb. 1 to Feb. 21, and the sports competition season is Feb. 22 to March 27.
Practices and reconditioning for fall teams will be held from March 15 to April 4, and the competition season is April 5 to May 8.
Practices and reconditioning for spring teams will be held April 26 to May 16, and the competition season is May 17 to June 19.
It’s unclear if the MPSSAA will hold state championships during the second semester.
“The MPSSAA recognizes the highest risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is increased participation opportunities that includes statewide competitions among different geographic areas,” the MPSSAA release states. “The MPSSAA will look for creative ways regarding these types of events and make decisions as we get closer to the second semester.”
If there are no state championships, the MPSSAA will allow county, city and conference championships to be held.
This fall, Frederick County student-athletes have resumed conditioning and non-contact skills practices as part of the Frederick County Public Schools Return to Play plan. Such activities are allowed by the MPSSAA’s two-semester plan, which grants waivers from the state board of education to allow for out-of-season plans by local schools systems.
Developments related to the health crisis could affect implementation of the MPSSAA’s two-semester plan.
“This document is intended to be fluid and will be modified as needed based on guidance” from the Maryland State Department of Education, the Public School Superintendent Association of Maryland and the Maryland Department of Health, according the MPSSAA release.