MCPS Plans for the Return of School Athletics in Late February

by Evan Joseph ‘23

The MCPS Board of Education has announced a target date of February 27 for the return of in-person athletics with online registration opening January 29 for the modified fall sports season. Schools are to begin preparing for in-person practices February 13 on school campuses, which must take proper measures to ensure their athletes’ safety during practices and events. 

According to Athletic Director Jason Woodward, Sherwood is ready to begin their athletic programs. “We have been working diligently with the hopes of returning to in-person activities,” said Woodward.  “We have been organizing and taking inventory of both equipment and uniforms. We have kept up with our field maintenance to ensure all our fields are safe and ready for us to start practice. The gym floor has been waxed and sealed, and we have even replaced the gym floor lobby tile.”

While MCPS had previously stated that it would require in-school learning to be present in order for sports to happen, other nearby counties have offered in-person athletic practices. Public schools in Fairfax County in Northern Virginia resumed fall athletic activities in December. Anne Arundel and Prince George’s decided to start their fall sports on February 1, and Howard County begins February 13. 

Woodward says that the MCPS plan is that both fall and spring sports will be run this semester, with fall sports set to run from February 23 through April 27 and spring sports from April 17 through June 19.  Woodward expects both JV and varsity programs as long as the proper number of students register to play and are eligible. In accordance with MPSSAA regulations, all in-person athletics will begin with 20 calendar days of conditioning and skill-based practices and tryouts. After the 20 days, competition and contests may begin as long as they are approved by the MCPS COVID-19 Task Force. Woodward states that if given the opportunity to compete, Sherwood teams would like to play a 5-10 game schedule depending on the sport.

“The MCPS Athletics COVID-19 task force has come up with many guidelines and protocols for us to bring students back to school for athletics,” Woodward remarked. “As of today, masks would be worn when you arrive to check in and when you leave the facility.  During the workout you will not be required to wear your mask.”