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Portland high schools in-person sports activities delayed to Aug. 24

In-person conditioning for Deering and Portland high schools will start on August 24, rather than August 3.

PORTLAND, Maine — Portland Public Schools (PPS) announced Thursday it is delaying the start of in-person sports conditioning to August 24 following the Maine Principals' Association's (MPA) decision to move the fall sports season to September. In-person sports activities for Deering and Portland high schools were set to begin on Aug. 3.

The MPA announced its decision to delay the fall high school sports season on July 21, pushing back the start from Aug. 17 to Sept. 8. The preseason will last two weeks, allowing games to resume no earlier than Friday, Sept. 18.

The MPA also announced that, pending individual school unit approval, fall sports only may hold conditioning workouts between Aug. 17-Sept. 7.

PPS says at a meeting of the Cumberland County Superintendents’ Association on Wednesday, the majority of school districts agreed to hold off on all team activities until Aug. 24.

RELATED: Maine Principal's Association delays start to high school sports season

The MPA announcement last week also came with a rule exception for schools who miss out on a season due to COVID-19:

For the 2020-2021 school year, the Completion of Season Rule that requires a team that does not complete their season to be ineligible for varsity play for two seasons has been waived. Knowing that some schools may be affected by the COVID-19 Virus, schools will be allowed to adjust their schedules during the season.

The high schools will work within the school-reopening guidelines developed by the district and any updates forthcoming from the MPA, with the understanding that the most current available data and guidelines may alter the Aug. 24 target date. 

"At all times, addressing the health and safety needs of any PPS participants – including students, staff, and other stakeholders – is the foremost consideration in the plan to resume in-person athletics," PPS said.

The Governor Mills administration is expected to release its plan for reopening schools this week.