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High school sports

Golf, cross country at Camden Hills back on, football, soccer, field hockey not

Windjammers start practices this week
By Mark Haskell | Sep 14, 2020
Courtesy of: Camden Hills Regional High School

Rockport — Three days after the Maine Principals’ Association released its revised state-assisted COVID-19 safety guidelines for fall high school sports, the tide has turned for some, but not all, Camden Hills Regional High School athletic teams.

In a letter to parents, students and the community on Sunday, Sept. 13, it was announced golf and cross country now will participate in school-sponsored interscholastic athletics this fall.

Click link at end of story to read entire letter.

Previously, it was announced on Friday, Aug. 21 that Camden Hills would opt out, given the MPA’s inability to meet its initial deadline to have plans in place for fall sports.

However, while golf and cross country will now take part, football, soccer and field hockey will remain on the sidelines, as far as interscholastic competition goes, for the fall season, due largely to the challenge of allowing players to remain socially distant in sports that call for consistently close contact.

“We feel confident that we can allow interscholastic golf and cross-country to occur following the recommended guidelines from the MPA that came out on Thursday, Sept. 10, and have made some changes to our original plan,” said Five Town Community School District Superintendent Maria Libby, CHRHS Principal Shawn Carlson and school athletic director Jeff Hart in the joint letter. “These two sports are categorized as 'low risk.' Unfortunately, we still do not feel that football, soccer or field hockey can compete interscholastically and still meet our school-wide reopening and safety plan. These sports are in the ‘moderate’ and ‘high risk’ categories.”

The letter went on to state" “We recognize this decision will continue to disappoint some, and we recognize there are strong feelings on all sides of the issue.”

“The decision on proceeding with any sport this fall is based on our goal of keeping the high school open to in-person learning for as long as possible during the coming school year,” the letter stated. “After considering all the factors, including reading the most recent guidelines, knowing that we are opening with 90 percent of our students in person [most surrounding schools are starting with 50], understanding the politics behind the state guidance, and reviewing the associated risks with our infectious disease consultant, we feel that the potential to bring an infection into our community and jeopardize in-person instruction is too great if we compete in football, soccer, and field hockey.”

The letter also stated: “We are unwilling to have one set of rules for students during the school day and to loosen those rules for afterschool activities,” which was a concern shared by the Maine School Management Association after the MPA revised its guidelines on Thursday [Sept. 10].

"Not only do we feel this is hypocritical, but we have been advised that it opens the school to being held liable for school-sponsored activities that do not enforce the same safety expectations across the board.”

“We cannot regulate what students and families do outside of the school, but we can and have taken every step we are able to minimize the chance that a case will show up because of school activity,” stated the letter. “And we hope that parents are taking this as seriously as we are in limiting risk outside of school. We will only be successful in our endeavor to educate students this year if we all work in concert."

Windjammer golf and cross country will begin practices on Monday, Sept. 14. Cross country will practice 3:15 to 5:15 p.m. at the school, while golf will practice 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the Samoset Resort Golf Club in Rockport.

All other sports will not practice Monday, but “In all likelihood, they will start on Tuesday,” Hart said.

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