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Bath, ME (December 18, 2020) – On December 3, RSU 1 School Board members voted unanimously to proceed with winter sports at Morse High School (MHS). Nate Priest, MHS Dean of Students and Athletic Director, lead the School Board discussion with a presentation about enhanced COVID-19 safety protocols the school will enforce to keep students safe, in accordance with Maine Principals’ Association (MPA) guidelines.
“In the fall we were able to have up to 100 outdoor spectators, but because of indoor gathering restrictions, spectators will not be allowed to watch winter sports activities in person,” Priest said, explaining new regulations. “All players, coaches, and personnel must wear masks at all times, which is also a change from the fall.”
Athletes began “skills and drills” conditioning exercises last week for winter sports including basketball, competitive cheering, team swimming, wrestling, and indoor track and field. Each has been categorized as “moderate risk” for COVID-19 transmission by the MPA except for wrestling, which is high risk. For that reason, the wrestling team will work on conditioning until at least February 22, and adjustments to gameplay have been made to mitigate contact risks in other sports.
For most sports, regional competitions between schools are set to begin January 11. Priest defined “regional” as any school within Sagadahoc County or any adjacent county which is not risk level yellow or red, as determined by the Maine Department of Education.
For certain sports, including competitive cheering and team swimming, virtual meets are being considered to keep students from different schools separated. In cheering, for example, each school would film their routine in advance and send the footage to a panel of judges for remote review.
“We’re really excited to have the opportunity to try and pull off a season,” said Priest. “[The students] are excited to do something that’s relatively normal to them.”
Senior Boden Gould participated in the modified football season this fall and is happy to be playing basketball this winter.
“We all have worked so hard to be here. I just hope it continues and we are allowed to play a full season. There is something special about running out on that floor on a Friday night with the rest of my team,” he said.
Priest commended his athletes and coaches on their ability to adapt to changing regulations and added that coaches, despite added levels of stress, have been “doing a fantastic job.”
“I couldn’t have asked any more from them this fall. They are making sure the kids stay as safe as possible,” he said.
To follow along with the winter sports season at MHS, visit the Shipbuilders Athletics website at morseshipbuilders.org.
Modified winter sports will also take place at RSU 1 middle schools: Skills and drills basketball at Woolwich Central School and Bath Middle School will begin after holiday break, along with competitive cheering at Bath Middle School. Wresting is slated to begin at Bath Middle School after February break.