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Sports to return in hybrid format at Anne Arundel County Schools

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Posted at 12:31 PM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 13:59:28-05

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY — Anne Arundel County Public Schools will resume sports in a hybrid format when it re-engages with fall sports student-athletes starting February 16.

Students in fall sports will take part in a non-competitive, four-week session that will include skills-based practice sessions and virtual opportunities. These sessions will focus on participation and engagement and may include intrasquad scrimmages.

Following the four-week period for fall sports, AACPS plans to conduct a 14-week competitive spring sports season beginning on March 15, as allowed under the plan put forth by the Maryland Secondary Schools Athletics Association.

The spring season will consist of three weeks of practices and tryouts followed by up to seven weeks of competition. That would be followed by additional postseason opportunities.

“This plan is designed to allow for the best possible opportunity for a wholesome spring season that will include AACPS athletic competition for the first time since March of 2020,” Superintendent George Arlotto said. “While we had all hoped to offer competition for student-athletes in all of our sports, that is simply not possible for us at this point. An elongated spring season provides for more time for a student-athlete or team to rejoin a team during the season should they have to be quarantined due to a COVID situation. It also allows us to maximize opportunities for student-athletes prior to AACPS graduations in early June.”

Dr. Arlotto said the school system is continuing to examine a similar hybrid resumption for other high school extracurricular activities.

Student-athletes who compete in fall and spring sports would each have four-week competitive seasons under a revised athletics plan announced by Superintendent George Arlotto.

The plan came about in the wake of a motion adopted by the Board of Education at its February 3 meeting to alter a previously announced plan in order to afford fall sports teams with competitive contests to the extent possible in addition to the planned spring contests.

After extensive dialogue that focused on student-athlete safety, the equitable availability of athletics fields, and the integrity of the athletics program, Dr. Arlotto and his team developed a schedule that will see fall sports open with tryouts and practices on February 16 and spring sports practices begin on April 17.

Of particular concern in the discussion were the academic and athletic needs of student-athletes and the availability of turf fields at high schools.

The seasons would be carried out as follows:

  • February 16 through March 20: Fall sports practices and tryouts (where needed), with activities occurring no more than three times per week over the first three weeks to ensure field equity. Teams must have three practices before any cuts are made.
  • February 27: First date that football teams may begin outfitting student-athletes in helmets and pads.
  • March 22 through April 17: Competition weeks for fall sports (approximate number of contests: football, 4; soccer, 5-6; field hockey, 5-6; volleyball, 5-6; cross country, 2-4; and golf, 2-4).
  • April 17 through May 8: Spring sports practices and tryouts (where needed). Teams must have three practices before any cuts are made.
  • May 10 through June 5: Competition weeks for spring sports (approximate number of contests: baseball, 10-12; softball, 10-12; lacrosse, 5-6; outdoor track and field, 2-4; and tennis, 5-7). Spring competition may be followed by postseason contests.
  • Unified Sports competitions (tennis in the fall season and bocce in the spring season) would also be scheduled.

AACPS will maintain its academic eligibility standards during both seasons.

However, to maximize opportunities for fall student-athletes, the recovery period for those fall student-athletes who are ineligible at the outset of the season will be extended from 16 days to one month.