Student-athletes at the largest school district in Maryland will be sitting on the sidelines throughout the rest of 2020.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted Montgomery County Public Schools to cancel fall and winter sports for all 25 county high schools during the 2020-21 school year. Fall prep sports have been canceled and postponed in a number of places across the country, but Montgomery County took it a step further by also eliminating winter sports well ahead of time.
The decision was made in conjunction with the school district’s announcement that it will provide virtual-only learning throughout first semester. The district may return to in-person instruction and spring sports for second semester, as the current plan will be reassessed in November.
“The safest choice for our district is to remain in a virtual-only instructional model through the first semester — January 29, 2021; or until state and local health officials determine conditions in our county allow for students to return safely after the first semester,” reads the letter from superintendent Jack Smith.
“I’m shocked,” Gaithersburg High School boys’ basketball coach Jeff Holda said, according to The Washington Post. “I figured that [there would be] a decision in November or December on whether or not we could have some kind of condensed season … I assumed that late December, early January we’d have something for our kids. So just to swing the sword and cancel it this way — I never saw this coming.”
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Montgomery County athletes will have a full year off of high school sports, as the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association had canceled all sports this spring. The MPSSAA has left the decision up to school districts this fall.
According to The Washington Post, Anne Arundel County, Howard County and Prince George’s County also announced that first semester will be virtual, but didn’t make any final decisions on fall sports.
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