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Baltimore Recreation and Parks suspends youth fall sports due to coronavirus pandemic

The Baltimore Recreation and Parks Department announced that it has suspended youth athletic programs and permits for the fall 2020 season over concerns of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In a news release, the department wrote that beginning Sept. 16 “youth athletic programs and permits will be suspended due to the health and safety of the participants.” Permits will be issued only to adult leagues, the department wrote.

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“[The department] will reassess the city’s COVID-19 climate in November and work to provide guidance for the spring permit season 2021 by December,” the department wrote. “Please know, we have not made this decision lightly.”

“Our mission is founded on providing health opportunities to recreate in our park spaces and we can’t wait to be the [city’s] lead provider in youth recreation again — when it’s safe,” the statement continues.

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Youth sports and athletics have been a controversial topic in the state as students return to fall classes.

In Anne Arundel County, residents have protested a county decision to modify youth tackle football and replace it with flag football.

Gov. Larry Hogan came out against the decision, saying that “it is the position of the state of Maryland that our young people should have the opportunity to play sports this fall,” while adding the decision is ultimately up to the municipality or county.

As for adults, the department wrote that city orders designating social distancing guidelines and group size are still in effect.

No more than 25 people are allowed to gather in one space at a time and those who plan to use athletic fields are asked to submit a written plan detailing how they’ll be in line with various social distancing and COVID-19 prevention guidelines.

Baltimore Sun reporter Talia Richman contributed to this article.

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