Last Thursday the Maine Principals Association announced guidelines that would allow all fall sports to take place starting on September 8th. This however came with some caveats mainly that Maine State agencies the Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Economic and Community Development, and the Center for Disease Control would be involved in the review of the MPA guidelines.
On Tuesday the DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew and Maine DOE Commissioner Pender Makin responded to the MPA guidelines. Makin said that there were places where the MPA guidance aligned with the Community Sports guidelines, and others where they didn't align.
It appears cross-country would be a sport that falls under the lower risk category. The key to this designation is that all levels of play allowed, which would allow for a state championship meet if guidelines are followed.
Levels of Play
- Level 1: Performing skill-building drills or conditioning at home, alone or with household members
- Level 2: Team-based practice with physically distanced group activities
- Level 3: Within-team competition (e.g. intra-squad scrimmages). This level of play involves one cohort of participants.
- Level 4: Competition between teams from the same geographic area (e.g. the same county and in some cases adjacent counties). This level of play involves two cohorts of participants.
- Level 5: Competition between teams from different geographic areas within Maine
- Level 6: Competition between teams from different states
Today the MPA put out a press release in response to the DHHS AND DOE request to revise their guidelines, and recommendations to delay the start of the fall sports season to a later date.
The Maine Principals' Association agrees with the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education that it would be best to extend the delay of fall sports by one additional week to allow schools to get their academic programs underway as we further adjust our guidance," said Mike Burnham, Executive Director of the Maine Principals' Association.
With this announcement, the start of the fall sports season is being delayed for the third time. The new start date is expected to be September 14th.
It is now expected that the MPA will work closely with the State to revise the sport's guidelines. Mike Burnham said the following.
"In the coming days, we will work closely and collaboratively with the Administration to modify our guidance and arrive at a solution that will honor the State's safety protocols and protect the health and safety of student-athletes along with their communities. We are grateful to the departments for their response to our request for feedback and look forward to working with them so that students may be able to play sports as quickly and as safely as possible."
We will continue to keep you updated with any new information as it is available.