Outdoor sports are given the green light to resume practice and training, within state guidelines

by Gary Adornato

During Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s Coronavirus update press conference, on Wednesday, Dr. Karen Salmon, the Superintendent of Maryland Schools, announced that “outdoor high school sports may resume practice and training within the same guidelines that were previously announced for youth sports programs by the governor.”

This was welcome news for high school athletes throughout the state, hoping to return to competition this fall after most of the 2020 spring season was derailed by school closings aimed at slowing the spread of the Coronavirus.

The ability to resume outdoor practices and training was announced at the same time that the state revealed a list of requirements for local school systems to allow students and staff to return to school buildings.

Among the restrictions for the resumption of training, as outlined in the state’s guideline for the resumption of youth sports are:

• No group may exceed 10 individuals at any time
• Individuals shall maintain 6-feet of physical distance, wherever and as often as possible
• Staff shall wear face coverings
• Staff and athletes are screened regularly for illness or exposure to Covid-19
• Any athletes who are sick from Covid-19, or exposed to a person with a confirmed or probable case of Covid-19, may not attend practice until they are cleared for release from isolation according to CDC guidelines and cleared to return by a healthcare provider.

The full list of the guidelines can be found below.

Although this news does not yet clear the way for full blown team practices or games, it was an exciting first step towards that goal. The State of Maryland is in Phase 2 of its reopening plan, which began on June 5th.

In outlining his three phase reopening plan back in late April, Governor Hogan stated that the state needed to see at least two week’s of decreased numbers of hospitalizations, use of intensive care units and deaths due to Covid-19 to move from one stage to the next. The state has been steadily decreasing in all areas over the last month.

Reaching Phase 3 of the reopening is the target for more normalized high school sports activities. In Phase 3 large social gatherings would be allowed, entertainment venues would be reopened, large religious gatherings would resume and there will be fewer restrictions on visitors to nursing homes and hospitals, among other things.