Extra-Curricular Activities and Athletics

MCPS Athletics, Fine Arts, Student Leadership and Extracurricular Activities will conduct engaging virtual programs for students throughout the first semester. During the second semester, pending approval and additional guidance from state and county health officials, our hope is to be able to offer in-person activities and programs for Athletics, Fine Arts, Student Leadership and Extracurricular Activities. All students are academically eligible to participate in athletics and extracurricular activities for the first semester during the 2020-2021 school year.

The Student Leadership and Extracurricular Activities Unit is working on a new webpage that will outline independent activities, as well as school-based and local school partnership programs. This will include student-to-student content, a leadership development series and additional means for students to build their personal and professional skills.

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Athletics

The first semester of athletic operations will be virtual and will feature three sport seasons, which will be conducted within the confines of the first semester. With the approval of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA), highlights of the proposed plan include:

First Semester

Three seasons will occur during the first semester.  Each season will be 5 weeks long as follows:

  • Fall: September 14-October 16
  • Winter: October 26-December 4
  • Spring: December 14-January 22

During the first semester, all sports will operate within the confines of their respective seasons, based on the traditional model of operations.  Please note that cheerleading will only occur in the fall season, while poms will only occur in the winter season.

The virtual athletic program will not include tryouts, and will be open to all students.

Each season will consist of:

  • Systemwide engagement opportunities, including speakers, character education and other resources as appropriate
  • Schoolwide engagement, per the athletics specialist or athletic coordinator
  • Sport-specific countywide engagement
  • Team-specific engagement

Curriculum and programming will include activities that reflect the R.A.I.S.E. core values of MCPS Athletics, including the following:

  • Respect & Sportsmanship—team building, potential engagement with other schools
  • Academic Excellence—academic support and college recruiting support
  • Integrity & Character—character education, including speakers and programs
  • Spirited & Safe Competition—skills and sport instruction, along with COVID-19 safety education in preparation for in-person activities
  • Equity & Access—efforts supporting equity and social justice initiatives

All students participating in the fall, winter, and spring virtual seasons, must complete the online registration process.  Registration is done electronically through the school’s specific athletics registration link posted on the school’s website.  Students and parents/guardians who have difficulty with registration should contact the athletics specialist or athletic coordinator at the local school. The registration process will require parent permission and allow for the submission of a pre-participation physical.

Students must have a valid physical on file with the school for to participate in high school virtual athletics.  Given the unprecedented circumstances, for students who are unable to secure an updated physical, MCPS will extend the expiration date of an existing physical by one calendar year.  To the extent a student does not have a physical on file with the school, the student will need to obtain one. For middle school athletics, parents/legal guardians will authorize and consent to their child’s participation in interscholastic athletics and sports and assume the risk of any injuries that may occur while participating in virtual athletic activities.  Due to the strenuous nature of selected activities, each student is encouraged to consult their physician concerning fitness to participate in the program.

Students will need to complete a parent permission form to participate. If students want to participate in any physical conditioning/skills-based activities they must have a valid physical on file.

Outside of the confines of the formal season, coaches will also be able to engage with students, consistent with the out-of-season guidelines for virtual engagement. Similar to the summer, this engagement would be team-based and not administered centrally.

The virtual delivery and seasonal structure will also apply to the middle school athletics program. Appropriate modifications to middle school sports will be made during the planning process, as needed. There will be three, 3-4 week seasons for middle school (fall, winter and spring). The fall season begins on Sept. 21.

Second Semester

If current state and local health guidelines and metrics allow, the second semester of program operations would be in-person. Seasons and calendars will be reimagined to operate as many sports as possible, consistent with the designated seasons established by the MPSSAA. In the event state level competition is not feasible due to current health metrics, MCPS will implement a local reimagined program that maximizes participation opportunities, consistent with state and county health metrics and school system operations. The reimagination of seasons would apply to both the high school and middle school athletics programs, with appropriate modifications made to middle school sports. More information will be forthcoming from the MPSSAA and during the fall, when more updated health metrics will be available.