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Baltimore County Board of Education passes motion for fall high school sports season to begin Feb. 13

The Baltimore County Board of Education passed a motion Tuesday night to begin the high school fall sports season on Saturday, Feb. 13, regardless of the status of reopening high school buildings, assuming the COVID-19 metrics continue trending in the right direction.

The plan would be in accordance with the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association’s “Roadmap for the Return of Interscholastic Athletics and Activities.” Fall sports and activities in Baltimore County include football, boys and girls soccer, field hockey, volleyball, golf, badminton and cheerleading.

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The motion, which was presented by board member Dr. Erin Hager, passed by a 9-to-1 vote with one abstention.

Dr. Hager, an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said the fall season’s typical dynamic, which includes student-athletes finding their own transportation for the three weeks in August before schools opening, helped make it possible to put the plan in place.

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“So it would essentially be like treating these athletes the way they are treated in August each year,” she said. “So it kind of clicked for me and I was really excited the rest of the board was on board with going for this and I do think it just gives the kids some hope.”

All that remains now is for the specific details of the plan to be released and continuing to monitor the pandemics trends.

“We have to watch the metrics and if things go awry, then we obviously won’t be able to move forward. But the past two weeks have been moving in the right direction so trying to be positive,” she said.

The passed motion was welcome news to many involved in high school sports in Baltimore County.

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“I think it’s great that it was an overwhelming vote of confidence from the board last night with a 9-1 vote — with the one abstention — to put that motion forth to start sports. That’s kind of what we all needed to hear,” said Dave Patrick, whose daughter, Payton, is a senior soccer standout at Hereford. “Even though that Feb. 13th date was set, there had been no real talk about it. So I think last night with the board taking the initiative and Dr. Hager putting that forth to advocate for our children and understand there’s a need for our kids that are really struggling with no in-person school let alone sports, I think it was a really big step forward to have high school sports get back.”

Anne Arundel County on Wednesday announced similar plans. Anne Arundel plans to finish the remaining three weeks — through Feb. 13 — allotted for the winter season virtually and shift the focus to finalize plans for the fall season, scheduled to start Feb. 13 and run through April 17.

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