RSU 73 to decide on fate of fall sports

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Spruce Mountain will hold a 6 p.m. Sept. 3 meeting in the middle school gym and via Zoom to discuss fall sports. Spruce Mountain’s Brandon Frey squeezed between Oak Hill defenders Caden Thompson, left, and Sam Lindsay during a football game last fall. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

JAY — On Thursday, August 27, Regional School Unit 73 directors scheduled a forum for Sept. 3 to discuss fall sports.

Thursday the Maine Principals’ Association Interscholastic Management Committee approved the sports medicine recommendation to play all fall sports, Superintendent Scott Albert said.

“We need to have an emergency meeting to decide whether we as a district want to do that or not. It’s not up to the MPA to make that decision,” he said.

The western Maine superintendents will be meeting Monday, Albert said. He expects that to be the #1 topic.

Logistics on who will be playing who and how to get there, given the shortage of buses, need to be worked out, Albert said.

“School districts will decide if all sports going forward, if we can do that, or if only certain sports. A meeting would give parents the chance to come online, express their opinions,” he said.

“I’m anxious to see what the Maine Department of Education is going to say. They haven’t come out with a stance, nor has the MPA,” Albert said. “A lot of people are still surprised that this is what’s happening, that they’ll allow all sports, leave it up to individual schools.”

“Can we say we want our teams to practice but we don’t want them to compete,” director Michael Morrell asked.

The possibility of offering an intramural program has been considered, Athletic Director Marc Keller said.

“I don’t want to get the information next week and vote on it then. As a board, we need the information ahead of the meeting,” Director Doug DiPasquale said. “I don’t want parents thinking we’re making decisions without them.”

As soon as the recommendation for each sport is obtained it would be sent to the directors, Keller said.

Student representative Taylor Guay asked if students who chose the full remote option can play sports.

That would be the intent, Albert said.

“The interaction of players could result in the possible spread of the virus. Could we form a league with the schools who send students to Foster Career and Technical Education Center? Our students are already in contact with them,” Director Ann Schwab said.

The varying sizes of those sending schools would have to be considered, Albert said.

“The state has to review the guidelines. There may be an intermediary step,” Spruce Mountain Middle School teacher Rob Taylor said. “Practices are set to start Sept. 8. It’s a really tight timeline.

“I coach cross country at the middle school. Middle school sports aren’t under the MPA. Separate decisions will need to be made.”

Director Lynn Ouellette was in favor of the meeting if all the information is available.

“We could have the meeting but make no decision,” Albert said.

In other business, Albert told the board students attending Foster Career and Technical Education Center programs aren’t required to learn remotely for Spruce classes, but noted the schedules don’t align very well.

“None of the sending schools are requiring their students to go full remote. (School physician) Dr. Knapp said as long as they are following the same protocols as we are, she doesn’t see a reason not to allow students to attend Foster Tech and classes here,” Albert said.

Students would have a more consistent structure with online learning, he said.

The board also approved an increase in the price for adult lunch prices. The new price is $4.60, an increase of 55 cents.

All other meal prices remain the same. Adult breakfast is $2.55 while student breakfast is free and $1.50 for an extra meal. Lunch for students at the primary, elementary and middle schools is $2.50 and $2.70 for high school students.

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