Student athletes will once again grab baseballs, lacrosse sticks and running shoes to compete against their peers when the Cecil County Public Schools (CCPS) spring sports season begins this month, with practices starting on Mar. 15.
Unlike the fall’s scrimmages, the spring will see the participation of Harford County schools, creating a full junior varsity (JV) and varsity schedule nearly identical to pre-COVID times.
“The only thing that might be different is if some teams decide to play teams outside of Harford County or Cecil County,” said Athletics Program Coordinator James Leitgeb. “Those teams aren’t on the schedule. But we will have a pretty close-to-normal schedule for each team.
CCPS will keep things entirely outside, except for changing into uniforms, which will still occur in the locker rooms but socially distanced. Each sport has its own guidelines, but coaches will have to remain masked at all times, students will wear masks when not in play, hand sanitizer must be used by the teams every thirty minutes, and dugouts will be expanded to allow for more social distancing.
Before games, students complete a 20 piece questionnaire designed to see if they may have COVID-19 based on possible symptoms and other factors. If a student responds yes to two questions, they cannot participate and will be asked to get a COVID-19 test.
“We are hoping that people will be honorable in the situation and answer truthfully because it is more than just themselves — there are other people involved,” said Leitgeb. “We’re very confident that people will abide by that.”
Tryouts will begin next week according to Leitgeb. The rosters will not face any size restrictions because of COVID.
Only immediate family members will be allowed in the stands. The three spring stadium field sports, track and field, and boys and girls lacrosse, will be broadcasted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Other sports will have their game stats and scores posted online. Unified Sports, which features special needs students playing and general population students working together, will continue with a full bocce ball season.
There are currently several coaching positions open. Elkton High School and Bohemia Manor High School are searching for assistant softball coaches. Elkton is also looking for assistant baseball coaches while Rising Sun High School needs a boys lacrosse coach. Games will begin on Apr. 5, with the first scheduled High School sports game on Apr. 7, with Rising Sun playing against Harford County’s Patterson Mill in JV and varsity baseball.
“I think this is a very positive situation for our student-athletes,” said Leitgeb. “I’m already going around to the buildings and hearing from the students about how excited they are that sports are coming back. Students are really itching for an opportunity to see their friends again and compete.”