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Fall Athletics Update (September 4, 2020)

Hello Panther Nation,

I am writing to you today with some positive news relating to high school sports and the upcoming fall season.  Last night, I presented an overview of our plan to safely return to athletics for the upcoming fall season to the Holliston Public Schools Central Office Administration & School Committee.  The information highlights the plans Holliston HS and the Tri-Valley League will be following for the upcoming season.  A copy of the presentation slides can be found here

Some Highlights pertaining to our return to athletics plan:

Fall 2020

A major change for the upcoming sports year is the creation of four sports seasons. Fall 1, Winter, Fall 2, referred to by the MIAA as ‘Fall Season 2 or the Floating Season’ and Spring.  Four traditional fall sports will be moved to Fall 2 - Cheer, Football, Unified Basketball and Volleyball.  If you registered for one of those programs we will automatically move your registration to the new ‘Fall Season 2 / Floating Season’.  The MIAA just released their ‘Sport Modifications’ to abide by the rules set forth by the EEA for the sports running this fall.  Those documents can be found here.

Four Season Student-Athletes (2020 only)

Please note the MIAA is allowing student-athletes to participate in four sports seasons this school year, 2020 - 2021.  This means that student-athletes who normally participate in Cheer, Football, Unified Basketball and Volleyball may elect to try out for another fall team that is running (Cross Country, Field Hockey, Golf, Boys Soccer, Girls Soccer) and vice versa.

Spectators

No fans will be allowed at any TVL contests during Fall 1, HCAT will be live streaming as many games as possible for all levels. Official TVL Statement: After much deliberation and discussion, the Tri-Valley League has unanimously decided to implement a “No-Spectator Policy” for the 2020 Fall 1 Season for all TVL contests, regardless of sport or level.  This incredibly difficult decision comes with mixed emotions as many of the TVL principals and athletic directors are also parents who fully understand and appreciate the joys of watching your child compete.  All decisions surrounding our Fall 1 season were made with safety as our number one priority, and we believe this was the most prudent course of action to ensure the safety and health of our students, coaches and families within the communities of the Tri-Valley League.  Although much of the current circumstances are out of our control, we are collectively doing everything possible to safely conduct our cross-country, field hockey, golf and soccer seasons for our student athletes and do not want anything to jeopardize our schools’ ability to provide athletic opportunities for our students in the 2020-2021 school year.  Each TVL district is working hard to provide live streaming options so that families can watch their children compete in real time.  Thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation. 

Coaching out of Season

The entire TVL, District 7 and many other leagues statewide have voted to keep Rule 40 in place for the 2020-2021 school year which means that we will not allow out of season coaching (including Fall sports moved to Fall 2 Season) Official TVL Statement: The MIAA has waived Rule 40, which governs out of season coaching restrictions, for the time period between September 18, 2020 and July 3, 2021, with principal approval.  The Tri Valley League has unanimously agreed to uphold Rule 40 for all our athletic teams.  While we fully acknowledge how challenging these past few months have been for our student-athletes and want them to feel connected to their coaches and teammates, these off-season practices carry significant risk that could jeopardize the reopening of schools and the continued ability to provide athletic opportunities for all our student-athletes.  This decision was not made lightly, but under the current COVID circumstances, it will be challenging to implement and enforce all the modifications, safety precautions and EEA guidelines for the teams in season, much less trying to balance these same measures for all programs.  Additionally, the inequitable access to facilities, inherent liability and health risks to students, coaches and families presents an untenable situation for schools.  

User Fees

Sport user fees will not be reduced as our costs for transportation, equipment/uniforms, officials, game management, staffing and PPE have increased.  To register for a Fall Season 1 sport, please go here

I want to reiterate this is our current plan as of right now.  We will be constantly monitoring the situation and making changes as needed.  Thank you all for your patience, cooperation and understanding during these unprecedented times.  As a reminder, please follow my twitter account (@HollistonAD) for the most up to date, real time announcements and information. 

Thank you for taking the time to read through all of the details and the slide presentation.  I look forward to seeing all of you in the very near future.  Please help ensure we have a sports season by wearing your mask & washing your hands. 

We are in this together... Go Panthers!

--
Matt Baker
Holliston High School
Athletic Director
(508) 429-0677 x1118
Twitter: @HollistonAD