In person high school sports are currently set to return in Montgomery County in February. Some football coaches in the area are hoping that they’ll allow them to return sooner.
On Monday, all 24 of the Montgomery County county public high school football head coaches sent a letter to county executive Marc Elrich and the County Board of Education.
In the letter, the coaches listed three problems that they want to address: students’ mental well being, the risk of injury if they don’t have physical activity before sports return in February and equity – citing that some families can’t afford personal trainers, gym memberships and workout equipment.
The coaches requested six solutions: asking for optional outdoor in-person workouts, health protocols in place along with schools coordinating logistics, the continuation of virtual practices and all coaches taking a COVID-19 education course.
Northwood high school football head coach Marcus Mayo, who is also a counselor at the school, says the coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on students.
“There’s definitely been a concern with the social emotional mental health of students and student athletes,” Mayo said. “And it’s really a concern with seeing the rapid increase of depression and anxiety, really around the country.”
Mayo believes that if in-person workouts resume, student athletes’ mental health will improve.
“Nothing can replace human interaction and that camaraderie and that compassion and love and environment that you feel from each other,” Mayo said.
Montgomery County Public Schools department of communications supervisor Gboyinde Onijala sent this statement to WDVM in response to the letter from the football coaches:
“At this time, MCPS Athletics will continue operating virtually as outlined in our framework for virtual athletics. The COVID-19 Task Force for MCPS Athletics will continue planning efforts for the safe return of in-person activities, when health metrics allow and in alignment with MCPS operations and the return of students to in-person learning. The task force includes representation from the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services to ensure we are following the most current and safe protocols and procedures. MCPS understands the importance of student participation in athletics and extracurricular activities and is committed to returning to the in-person delivery of these programs. MCPS will continue to monitor information and guidance regarding the administration of interscholastic athletics and extracurricular activities and provide updates as appropriate.“
Currently, as noted in the coaches’ letter, four counties in the state of Maryland (Anne Arundel, Frederick, St. Mary’s and Washington) have resumed some in person high school sports.