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Projected school re-opening may be too late for spring sports

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State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen B. Salmon announced on March 25 that schools will remain closed through April 24.

Maryland public schools were closed on March 16 for two weeks in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But the pandemic shows no sign of abating, prompting the decision to keep schools closed for another month.

"We do not make this decision lightly," Dr. Salmon said. "However, with the challenges facing our state and our country, we have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of our school communities and the community at-large."

Even if schools do re-open on April 24, time may have run out on the spring sports season.

Spring sports were originally supposed to begin on March 20, and teams must practice for 20 days before their first game.

Days when schools are closed do not count toward that requirement, so many teams will need around a week of practice before the season can begin.

The postseason for spring sports begin the second week of May and finish Memorial Day weekend. 

That leaves one month for the regular-season, which would not be enough.

The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) has not yet made any statement pertaining to the status of spring sports asof March 25.

The athletic director at one local high school said they have received no new information.

"I think the season is shot," he said. "But, no official word."

Another athletic director said "I doubt it" when asked if the spring season had any chance of starting, while School Board member Rod McMillion said "I personally can't imagine that happening."

Darryl Williams, Superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools, said on March 25 that the county will begin to implement a "Continuity of Learning" plan to provide students with continuous learnging through the addition four weeks of closure.

"This plan will provide all students with both virtual and print-based learning pathways depending on their access to technology," Williams said. "There will be professional learning opportunities for instructional staff and administrators to support this “Continuity of Learning” plan beginning March 30.

"And we will finalize our process to ensure that students and staff have access to these materials and resources during the week of March 30th."

Beginning on April 6, Williams said, there will be new learning available for students. More specific details concerning "Continuity of Learning" will be revealed to school staff and student's families.

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