With the recently rising cases of COVID-19 across America and specifically across the state of Maryland, the Cecil County Board of Education put a mandate in place that all individuals attending an indoor sporting event in the county must wear a mask at all times.
This mandate includes all indoor events such as basketball, wrestling, archery, indoor track and field as well as swimming.
On Monday, the Maryland Department of Health reported 621,220 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including the newest strains Omicron and Delta. The numbers show a 5.43% increase or 28,541 more cases than the last report on Dec. 3 — just a 17 day stretch.
The mandate does not extend to coaches, players and officials during the game but to the fans in the stands.
Food and drink are also to be consumed in the lobby. While it may not be a popular rule among fans in Cecil county, the main focus for all involved in putting on the events is to make sure the children can play.
“We want to try to protect everyone that we can,” Perryville basketball coach Ron Kidd said. “I wish it was, if you are vaccinated you don’t have to wear them, but that is my personal views.”
The players are also voicing their displeasure with the mandate but have been following it as well at school during the day and then able to shed them when it is time to play ball.
“I don’t like it,” North East guard Ethan Hassell said. “I don’t like having to wear a mask at all, but it is something we have to deal with — and I understand it when we are at school.”
Others said they see too many people not wearing the mask the proper way — covering the nose and mouth — which defeats the purpose.
“I really think it is kind of stupid,” Angelo Stanley of Perryville said. “Because people wear them down anyway, so it isn’t really helping anything except you have to have it on you.”
Others, such as MPSSAA basketball offical Heyward Boutte are taking extra precautions. Depsite the mandate not calling on officials to wear masks during games, Boutte says wearing a mask and gloves while he is in the midst of officiating a game is a personal choice that makes him feel safe.
“It’s just an option and a tool for us,” about the said. “It’s just my preference. (The virus) has not changed things a whole lot. Basketball is still basketball between the lines. I just prefer to make sure I stay safe.”
Boutte said that the county taking steps to keep the games going on important to the officialsc, coaches, players and administrators. “I think it’s very important,” Boutte said. “It keeps the kids off the street and keeps them focused in school.”
But at the end of the day, the focus has always been done with a common goal in mind that everyone can agree on: let the children play the game they love and not take a risk on another shutdown such as in 2020.
“We are following the mandate and trying to enforce it,” Bohemia Manor Athletic Director Bruce Kline said. “It doesn’t matter if anyone agrees with it or not, it is the policy and we have to follow it and we are going to do whatever we have to do to make sure the kids can play.”
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Baltimore star Lamar Jackson missed practice again Friday because of his injured ankle, and the Ravens listed him as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams.
Jackson has missed the past two games. He finally returned to practice Wednesday but was limited, and he hasn’t practiced since. Coach John Harbaugh is not ruling out the possibility Jackson could play, however.
“I think he has a chance to play on Sunday. We’ll have to see,” Harbaugh said. “This time of year, you have guys who have different things. He has what he has, and some other guys have their dings and things like that. It’s all hands on deck.”
The Ravens chose to make Tyler Huntley, not Jackson, available to reporters Friday. Huntley started in Jackson’s place two weekends ago against Green Bay, but he missed last weekend’s game at Cincinnati because he was on the COVID-19 list. Huntley is back now.
The Ravens ruled out cornerback Anthony Averett (ribs/chest) and guard Ben Powers (foot). Linebacker Odafe Oweh (foot) is doubtful, and receivers Marquise Brown (illness) and Devin Duvernay (ankle), linebacker Daelin Hayes (knee) and fullback Patrick Ricard (knee) are questionable.
There is a cornucopia full of great games to ring in the New Year during the first part of next week and Cecil County basketball teams will be in the forefront of those games.
What could prove to be the girls varsity game of the week will take place at The Tome Acadmey as the Titans go for the sweep of Cecil County schools when they host Elkton at 4 p.m. Monday. Elkton is looking to bounce back after losing three straight to close the 2021 portion of the schedule.
In other girls basketball action on Tuesday, Jan. 4, Rising Sun hosts Bohemia Manor at 6 p.m. Rising Sun is off to a 3-2 start to the season while the Lady Eagles are also 3-2 and are looking for their first winning streak of the season after a 28-24 win over Elkton last time out. Take a look below at other key matchups in the county through Dec. 5.
On the boys side, Aberdeen comes to North East as the Indians look to bounce back from a 67-42 loss in their last home game against Havre de Grace.
The scoring has been balanced for NEHS as of late with Ethan Hassell and Austin Keefer each scoring 15 points in that loss to Havre de Grace.
Monday, Dec. 3
C Milton Wright vs North East, GIRLS, 5:30 pm Tome vs Elkton, GIRLS, 4 pm North East vs Aberdeen, BOYS, 7 pm Tuesday, Dec. 4
Rising sun vs bo manor GIRLS, 6 pm Elkton vs bo manor, BOYS, 7 pm Wednesday, Dec. 5 Bel Air vs Elkton, GIRLS 3:30 pm Tome vs Bo manor, BOYS 4 pm Joppatowne vs Rising Sun, BOYS 5 pm