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RSU 3 approves fall sports with conditions

District enrollment declines
By Fran Gonzalez | Sep 15, 2020

Thorndike —

The fall sports program at Mount View got a green light last night at the Regional School Unit 3 School Board meeting, though with some restrictions.

Superintendent Charles Brown said the board was following Maine Principals' Association's current guidelines, but modified the district's program to be more stringent.

RSU 3 Athletic Director Thomas Lynch told The Republican Journal today that the fall sports program will include Mount View boys and girls soccer, flag football, field hockey, golf and cross country running.

Lynch said there was some confusion whether there would be any football for the season against other schools. He said the MPA released a statement Sunday afternoon saying it had approved inter-school flag football with conditions.

Some restrictions include a 10-game limit on the season with no playoff, every play must be a pass, and there is to be no tackling or blocking, to name a few.

He said the teams can start practicing right away and the start of the season is anticipated to be Friday, Sept. 25, though this has not yet been confirmed. Sideline cheerleading will be allowed, Lynch said, but with no pyramids or other stunts, and with proper distancing.

The football team this fall will be made up of seven players and with no spectators allowed at games except senior parents at senior games. According to the guidelines, only 100 people are allowed at an outside event, Brown said. Spectators will not be allowed to view the game from other locations on school grounds and will be limited to 100 individuals per sport.

“If you count the teams, the coaches and officials, that leaves a small amount of people,” he said.

No concessions will be served, no locker rooms will be available for practice or games and two buses will drive sports teams to games to keep within social distancing guidelines. Parents can also drive their children to games.

Brown said the district will attempt to stream the games, and if not feasible, will at least record the event for later viewing. The middle school sports program, he said, will have the same expectations.

The middle school will offer boys and girls soccer, field hockey and flag football with students beginning practice on Wednesday, Sept. 16. According to Lynch, there will be a late bus available after school.

Students in pod-B may come to practice if they have a way to get to the school on Wednesday and are welcome to take the late bus home.

For the remainder of the season there will be late buses Monday through Thursday. The coaches are Fran Stevens for field hockey, Hauns Bassett for boys soccer, Vincent Vannah for girls soccer and Robert Carlisle for football.

At the high school, practices for all are underway, but it is not too late to sign up. Late buses will be available Monday through Friday starting today.

Coaches this fall for high school sports are Jeremy Von Oesen for boys soccer, David Page for girls soccer, Gloria Hewett for field hockey, Rick Leary for football, Craig Tozier for golf, Carol Bryant for cheering and Kevin Petrak for cross country.

Parental permission and COVID waiver forms must be completed by the first formal practice. If the student has a physical that was done in the last two years, it will be accepted for this year. The pre-participation physical evaluation is completed by the parent and turned in with the permission form.

A board member, who said she was “nervous about sports,” asked for clarification about distancing protocols in relation to the classroom, recess, gym class, and sports guidelines.

As it stands now, she said, distancing is 3 feet in classrooms, 6 feet for outside recess, 14 feet for gym class, and 3 feet or less for sports.

Brown said the difference in protocols is based on whether students are required to participate or volunteer to participate. Because sports are voluntary, guidelines allow for decreased distance protocols, assuming students, parents, staff and officials are aware of risks and are choosing to play.

Several students spoke in support of continuing the fall sports program. One district athlete said they had spent countless hours practicing and putting in their maximum effort to “be where we are today.”

“This will be our last opportunity to play together,” she said, and added that everyone will be adhering to the guidelines.

For more information on needed forms or waivers, contact Athletic Director Thomas Lynch at 568-4601.

Enrollment declines

In other school board news, Waldo County Technical Center will be accepting students when not attending in-person learning at the high school. A bus will be available for all students to travel from the high school to WCTC every day, including Fridays.

The morning bus leaves at 8:25 and the afternoon bus leaves at 11:20 a.m. According to high school Principal Zack Freeman, for students not on campus that specific day, they will need transportation to and from MVHS.

In his enrollment report, Superintendent Brown said that overall across the district, 1,114 students are enrolled in school. This, he said, represents a 103-student drop since June. Last year at this time, the district had 1,223 students.

Some reasons behind the decline in enrollment, he said, are families moving out of the district or choosing to homeschool their children. This year there are 141 students who are homeschooled, which represents an increase of 36 since last year. In all, 208 students across the district are attending school 100% remotely.

Brown said there are 27 students attending school who live outside the district, while 41 students from the RSU 3 district are attending schools elsewhere. One reason for the outgoing students, Brown said, is parents having difficulties finding child care within the RSU 3 area.

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