JAY — Regional School Unit 73 directors Thursday, Sept. 10, approved competitive sports within the Mountain Valley Conference for golf and cross country but opposed such competitions for soccer, field hockey, cheering and football.

Spruce Mountain High School Athletic Director Marc Keller said he received the updated guidelines set forth by the Maine Principals Association and the State of Maine at 3:27 p.m. Thursday.

The six-foot social distance for cross country is possible, he said. There are seven schools in the MVC that have golf, all are relatively close to us, Keller said later.

Transportation was brought up by director Ann Schwab. She noted the double bus runs this year and the possibility of team members being in different cohorts.

“Will that be a parent responsibility?” she asked.

Transportation will have to be figured out if we get approval, Keller said. He added teams might have to get creative, hold meets on remote only days or Saturdays.

Initially, the board considered allowing competitions for moderate-risk sports too, provided all competitors wore face masks during events.

A questionnaire had been sent out to other MVC schools, Keller said.

Their response about wearing face masks was that the MPA guidelines say they are permitted, not mandated, he said.

“I’m not sure other teams would be willing to wear masks,” Keller added.

Director Phoebe Pike said a lot of directors are still attending meetings via Zoom.

“When it comes to moderate risk sports, I’m very concerned for the students. I know how much sports mean to the students. I’m very concerned for them. It’s hard to avoid contact in soccer,” she said. “I don’t think we can take the risk with our students, staff, our community.”

“There is a discrepancy between the MPA’s clarification and its guidelines,” Chairman Robert Staples said.

Earlier in the day the MPA announced there would be no football or indoor volleyball this fall.

Director Ann Schwab asked if band and chorus were happening.

“If you can’t sing in a for-credit course, how can you cheer? It doesn’t seem equitable,” she said.

“Athletics are extremely important. We put a lot of effort into the return to school. If both teams don’t wear masks, it won’t meet the straight face test,” Superintendent Scott Albert said.

The original motion to allow moderate risk sports was withdrawn. A second motion to not allow moderate risk sports teams to compete competitively was first amended to allow Phase 4 practicing to continue. It was further amended to allow Keller to develop an intramural program for those sports.

Both amendments and the original motion passed.

The board also approved allowing football, deemed a high risk sport, to continue Phase 4 and allow participation in an intramural program once it is developed.

The decisions apply to both middle and high school sports programs, Staples said.

When asked about a meeting on other extracurricular activities such as robotics and Envirothon, Keller said the board would have to wait until it sees the guidelines before a meeting could be held.

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