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MPA announces return of all school sports, including tackle football

The MPA announcement comes as Maine continues its transition from state COVID-19 mandates and guidelines to following recommendations from the US CDC

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Principals’ Association (MPA) announced Wednesday that all interscholastic activities can return, ending more than a year of uncertainty for players and coaches across the state ahead of the fall 2021 season.

The announcement comes as Maine continues its transition from state COVID-19 mandates and guidelines to following recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

During Wednesday’s coronavirus briefing, Maine Department of Health and Human Services  Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said they had relayed that new process to the MPA Wednesday morning. She said that guidance for school sports will be up to the MPA, rather than a joint decision between the MPA and the state as it was throughout the pandemic.

Maine DHHS and the Maine Centers for Disease Control will continue to recommend entities like the MPA follow safety protocols, but the state will no longer mandate guidelines for things like community sports.

In the announcement Wednesday, the MPA echoed Lambrew, saying it will continue to work with the Department of Education, the Maine School Board Association, the Maine School Superintendent’s Association, and the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators’ Association “to assist schools in developing their individual school plans to allow for a safe reopening plan for their athletes and school staff.”

The MPA said these plans will look at current requirements and recommendations for schools as well as executive orders.

The now-retired state COVID-19 prevention checklists said high school tackle football and wrestling happen would not take place in Maine this past spring and fall.

Wednesday’s announcement, however, means tackle football and wrestling will be able to return this fall.