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Sports

Milford soccer has high hopes

By Kevin Eickman

Last season was a bit of an up and down year for the Milford High School Buccaneers boys’ soccer team. They started out of the box red-hot with a six-game winning streak. However, in the middle of the season, the Bucs dropped five in a row, with three of those games finding Milford on the wrong end of one-goal score lines. The result would be a 9-6 record with Milford just missing out on a spot in the Division I state tournament. “We put together a good season last year, just not the one we were hoping for.” Coach Todd French said. “This year we are hoping to improve on that and take the next step.”

The next step for Milford would be a spot in the tournament and turning some heads along the way. This is not just any Milford team; French believe this year’s team feels like it is on the verge of something very special. “We are returning eight seniors this season, featuring a multitude of players who garnered All-Conference and All-State recognition,” French said. “With the team we have coming back, I have no doubt in my mind we are in for a big season.”

With the on and off again nature of the season, Milford is lucky to have so many experienced upperclassmen coming back. “The guys were kind of bummed out when it didn’t look like we would be playing in the fall,” French said. “The one thing everyone did was keep positive and stay ready to play. They conducted their own individual workouts, staying in shape just in case we were able to have a season.”

The season will look a lot different with Milford limited to competition against only Henlopen Conference teams. “When you take a look at the teams in our conference, there is little doubt that we will be facing some of the top teams in Delaware. The hope is that we are able to complete the season safely and make sure that we can play at the level we are capable of,” French said.

Milford played on the front foot last season and is expected to do the same this year. With seniors Aaron Sollie and Sam Dominguez, joined by a senior transfer from Sussex Tech, Shaun Chelton, French believes there is a lot of firepower up front. “We have a great bunch of playmakers who know how to find the back of the net,” French added. “They all have skill on the ball and a great turn of foot, these guys can really get after it.”

The defense will be anchored by arguably one of the better players in Delaware, in the person of All-State senior Luke Bogan. Bogan has continually demonstrated leadership on the field to go along with his skill on the ball. “Luke may be one of the best players in the history of Milford. We play down here in the south, so sometimes players don’t get noticed. In the case of Luke however, he just pops right out at you, you simply can’t miss him.”

When it comes to the keeper position, yet another Milford senior will be manning the position, Kirk Hammer. “Hammer is a solid goalkeeper; he posted six shutouts last season and made some huge saves when we needed them. He is another player who provides that mixture of skill and leadership, it’s great to have him back for one more season.”

Luke Sollie, who has the makings of being something special, is a freshman to keep an eye out for this fall. “It is pretty impressive for him to make the squad; he has a twin brother (Paul) who just missed out on the team, but I would expect to see him do big things in the future as well,” stated French.
A look at the Milford schedule gives you a peek in to the uncertainty regarding fall sports in general for the state of Delaware. The first week of the season has Milford playing three games, with the final game of the week being the Bucs’ home opener against Lake Forest, also being Senior Night. “There is no doubt there is uncertainty on whether or not we will finish the season, so we want to try and make sure our seniors are recognized no matter how things play out,” French said.

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Featured Health Sports

19 UD athletes suspended for violating health protocols

The University of Delaware has suspended 19 members of its swimming and diving team for violating COVID-19 guidelines.

The suspensions from all athletic-related activities range from six weeks to all semester, SwimSwam reported, and follow a Sept. 26 party at an off-campus residence.

All involved were quarantined and have tested negative for COVID-19, WDEL reported.

“We have spoken to our student-athletes at length about their responsibility of being back on campus,” UD athletic director Chrissi Rawak said in an announcement. “The protocols and guidelines put into place are ones that must be followed for us to provide a safe environment for not only the university, but our community as well.

“While we have been fortunate with the behavior from a majority of our student-athletes in following the guidelines and social pledge, we cannot let up, we must stay focused and disciplined in all of our choices.”

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Featured High Schools Scene About Town Sports

Sallies forced to look to Pennsylvania for football opponents

The Salesianum School is now looking out of state to fill out the remainder of its football schedule.

That move came after the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association board of directors, in an 8-5 vote on Thursday, rejected a proposal to abandon the automatic bid process for the 2020 state football playoff.

Salesianum, a private Wilmington school without a conference affiliation, has only three games on the schedule, athletics director Scott Mosier told board members via phone.

“We’re two weeks away from the football season starting, and we can’t play a full schedule of games,” Mosier said. “There are 16 Division I big schools, and 15 of those are in two conferences. Salesianum is the only big school that is not in a conference.”

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“Because of this, conferences are able to dictate to the state various rules and motivations of those conferences. With conferences governing their own decision of who gets in and out of specific rules within the conferences, they have and will continue to have the opportunity to control the big schools’ decisions.”

Mosier said Salesianum would normally have its schedule filled by opponents from the Blue Hen Flight A and B conferences or the Henlopen North and South conferences. Not this year, because all of those conferences are locked into league-only games in a truncated season.

“Big schools should basically play big schools, and small schools should play smaller schools or programs,” Mosier said. “These larger school ADs and coaches have verbally committed to playing us, but can’t because conference rules requirements [this year].”

Salesianum sought to play schools that have open dates, such as Wilmington Friends and Sussex Tech, but both those schools turned down the opportunity.

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Mosier brought four options to the board that he thought could help Salesianum:

• Sallies could have filled the lone vacant slot in the Henlopen North Conference, which has seven teams. Salesianum is already playing Dover, Smyrna and Sussex Central. Salesianum would not have been eligible for the conference’s automatic bid since it is not a conference member.

• Get rid of automatic bids as a state tournament qualifier. With only seven regular season games scheduled this year because of COVID-19, the number of teams that qualify for the state playoffs drops from the normal 6 to 4.

• If the board wanted to keep the automatic bid, it could strike down the conference rule that requires conference teams to play each other for the automatic bid.

• Combine Blue Hen Flight A and B conferences with Henlopen North and Salesianum to make a 16-team league and create schedules for all of those schools.

After much discussion between board – on things such as why Sallies weren’t playing rivals St. Mark’s and if Salesianum was making any attempts to gain conference affiliation – a motion was made to dispense with the automatic bid process only for this season.

“I wish you a lot of luck in reaching out to folks in Pennsylvania,” DIAA board chairman Bradley Layfield said, adding that there could be some movement in the DIAA’s next football meeting, scheduled 9 a.m. Oct. 15.

A pitch to allow one scrimmage before the high school football season begins on Oct. 23 did not gain enough votes to change the current regulation.

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Milford-live Sports

Shockley, Just One of Four Key Assistant’s

 

 

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By Kevin Eickman

It’s been a hectic few weeks in Delaware interscholastic sports. What looked as if a fall season would be taking place in spring, has now become a shorter season played in the fall. One of the more exciting programs at Milford High School has always been field hockey. Milford alum and head coach Andrea McPike takes great pride in her coaching staff comprised of MHS graduates that have returned to help create the culture she envisions. Sarah Silicato, Meg Fry, Kayla Brennan, and Peyton Shockley are crucial to the future of Milford field hockey. “I can’t begin to tell you how much their generosity and commitment has meant to the team,” McPike said. “Each of them brings something special to the team, but the most important item they bring is Milford pride.”

We will be getting to know the field hockey staff over the course of the year. First up on the list is Shockley. A 2013 graduate, who along with playing field hockey, also played softball and swam for two years as a Buccaneer. “I always felt that it was important to not focus on just one sport. The more well rounded you become as an athlete, the more likely you are to be successful in your chosen sport,” Shockley stated.

Following graduation from Milford, Shockley attended Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, where she continued her playing career and cracked the books. Shockley graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mid-level mathematics. Earning her degree was very important to Shockley, who now teaches Algebra I and II at Milford. “It was always a goal of mine to be a teacher. There were so many teachers that did so many great things for me, I always wanted to be able to help other students, the same way I was helped,” she said.

Another passion Shockley wanted to pass on was her love of field hockey. Understanding early on that she always wanted to help in some way, Shockley has been always eager to lend a hand however she can. “At first I helped with the middle school camps and clinics. Then I helped with the Oranje travel team, which was a great deal of fun. Then I finally landed on Andrea’s staff,” Shockley said. “It’s been a pretty quick journey and I am very excited to be a part of it. The communication and friendships are simply fantastic, I love it here.”

Asked about why she chose to come back to Milford, Shockley was quick to respond. “I just love it here, I love the people, the community, the school. It’s great to be around my family and to be able to give back. I have my parents here along with my sister Hayden. There is no place else I would rather be. Plus, I just bought a house, which is very exciting to me personally.”

When word came down that there were going to be fall sports after all, Shockley was very excited about the prospect. “I’m so excited that we are going to be able to compete this fall. It’s going to be great having them on the field and watching the excitement build as we head to the regular season. Being able to interact with their teammates and friends, it’s going to be great if it all goes well.” Shockley concluded the start of fall sports actually feels like the first step in the right direction of getting back to normalcy.

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Headlines Health Sports

UD’s spring football season will include six games, playoffs

The Colonial Athletic League, which includes the University of Delaware, plans a six-game spring conference schedule that includes the option for institutions to add up to two non-conference contests.

The conference will use a North/South divisional format, with all six league games coming against teams within the division, a press release said.

The team with the best overall conference record will be the conference’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Football Championship. Should the divisional champions finish with the same record, a tiebreaking policy will be used to determine the automatic qualifier.

Conference play should start on March 6 and end April 17, with each team receiving a bye week, the press release said.

Non-conference will not count towards the conference standings and the outcome would not be used in the tiebreaking procedures. Based on NCAA guidelines, teams are allowed to begin non-conference competition as early as Jan. 23.

The makeup of the divisions and the final conference schedule will be announced in the next several weeks, the press release said.

“All of our institutions know that today’s announcement is simply the first step in the planning process associated with playing football on each of our campuses in the Spring,” CAA Commissioner Joe D’Antonio said in the release.

The conference and each member has protocols that must be finalized and approved for safety.

“Our goal in creating this unique scheduling format was to implement a competitive model while also trying to reduce the risks associated with travel as much as we could,” D’Antonio said in the release. “It’s been an extremely difficult and challenging time, but it’s nice to be able to give our coaches, student-athletes and fans something to look forward to. Health and safety remain at the forefront of every decision we are making, and we are hopeful about getting the Spring 2021 season underway.”

CAA Football announced in July it would move the fall season into spring. 

The NCAA Board of Directors has approved a playoff system, with 16 teams including 11 automatic qualifiers and five at-large berths. Playoffs are set to begin on April 24, with a champion being crowned in Frisco, Texas on May 14, 15 or 16.

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Education Featured Health Sports

UD’s spring football season will include six games, playoffs

The University of Delaware Blue Hens won't play fall sports.
The University of Delaware Blue Hens will play six conference games in the spring.

The Colonial Athletic League, which includes the University of Delaware, plans a six-game spring conference schedule that includes the option for institutions to add up to two non-conference contests.

The conference will use a North/South divisional format, with all six league games coming against teams within the division, a press release said.

The team with the best overall conference record will be the conference’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Football Championship. Should the divisional champions finish with the same record, a tiebreaking policy will be used to determine the automatic qualifier.

Conference play should start on March 6 and end April 17, with each team receiving a bye week, the press release said.

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Non-conference will not count towards the conference standings and the outcome would not be used in the tiebreaking procedures. Based on NCAA guidelines, teams are allowed to begin non-conference competition as early as Jan. 23.

The makeup of the divisions and the final conference schedule will be announced in the next several weeks, the press release said.

“All of our institutions know that today’s announcement is simply the first step in the planning process associated with playing football on each of our campuses in the Spring,” CAA Commissioner Joe D’Antonio said in the release.

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The conference and each member has protocols that must be finalized and approved for safety.

“Our goal in creating this unique scheduling format was to implement a competitive model while also trying to reduce the risks associated with travel as much as we could,” D’Antonio said in the release. “It’s been an extremely difficult and challenging time, but it’s nice to be able to give our coaches, student-athletes and fans something to look forward to. Health and safety remain at the forefront of every decision we are making, and we are hopeful about getting the Spring 2021 season underway.”

 CAA Football announced in July it would move the fall season into spring. 

The NCAA Board of Directors has approved a playoff system, with 16 teams including 11 automatic qualifiers and five at-large berths. Playoffs are set to begin on April 24, with a champion being crowned in Frisco, Texas on May 14, 15 or 16.

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Culture Headlines Schools Sports

Milford School District votes unanimously to allow fall sports

Milford School District Board of Education voted six to zero Monday night to allow fall sports.

Practices and pre-season games for soccer, cross country, football and field hockey, which will all play shortened seasons, can begin on Monday, Sept. 28. All the seasons will end in December.

During the meeting, parents argued that students needed to be playing and be together, not glued to computer or television screens. Parents and coaches argued that if Milford didn’t allow sport, students would leave the system to go to one that did allow sports.

“This is about what is doing what is best for our kids,” Sherry Geesaman said during the meeting’s public comment section. “Getting our kids back out on the field and playing is absolutely the best thing for our kids. Not being in the classroom is not best for our kids. Getting 90 minutes of your core education each day is not best for our kids. Not being with classmates is not best for our kids.”

All Delaware school districts will be dealing with the same issue, because a cascade of events at state level puts the issue back in their laps.

In August, the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association cited state rules that said sports were not safe and pushed fall sports into seasons between winter and springs sports.

Then this month, the Delaware Division of Public Health reversed its stand against playing sports by issuing guidelines for playing fall sports that included masks for all athletes, even football players and wrestlers. Gov. John Carney, who had been saying he couldn’t imagine how kids could play football with masks and safety precautions, then urged the DIAA to reconsider its rules. DIAA did, voting for shortened seasons.

But that sent the issue to the Delaware Department of Education Board, who on Sept. 17 voted 4-3 to allow fall sports. The hours-long discussion often focused on issues of equity. They included why the board should allow sports, but not allow other student activities such as marching band, choirs, theatre and various clubs. They also included what would happen if one system decided to allow sports and another didn’t. Several board members and speakers referred to six districts already saying they would not play sports.

The board’s decisions means individual districts have to decide whether to offer fall sports.

While Geesaman supported sports in Milford, she supported a lot more: “I am all for kids playing sports but we need them back in the classroom as soon as possible.”

Jack Frederick, the parent of four Milford School District students, said he was concerned that if Milford voted not to have sports, students would transfer to neighboring districts that did choose to play this fall. He believed that the ripple effect could last for years.

Milford High athletics director Ryan Winkleblech told the board that the school did have practices over the summer for five different teams.

“We followed a process, we had a check list and we did temperature checks,” Winkleblech said. “We documented all the information and I must submit that at the end of each week.

“Our kids are rising to the occasion. They are taking this seriously. We have scheduled our volleyball, soccer and field hockey games so that we can avoid having more than two competitions at one site.”

Cross country head coach Lance Skinner, who is also president of Milford Little League, said his organization was the only one south of Middletown to hold games over the summer.

“It went off without a hitch,” Skinner said. “Everyone took it seriously. Everyone followed the guidelines and it went fine. All the kids who have returned for cross country are very excited, but they are taking it all seriously.

“They are wearing masks, they are dealing with the pre-practice check-ins. They are social distancing. As they enter the field, the must use hand sanitizer and wear a mask. Once the race starts, they can remove the mask, but it must be placed back on as they leave the track.”

Andrea McPike, the Buccaneers’ field hockey coach, agreed with Skinner. Each girl is compliant no matter what is asked of them, McPike stated. They arrive 30 minutes before practice with masks on. The girls must respond to the same checklist as other sports and have their temperature checked.

“There is a fence around the field that has poles that are eight feet apart,” McPike said. “Each girl is assigned one of those poles where they place all their gear. They must use hand sanitizer as they enter the field. During practice, they are required to wear masks.

“We take a short break where the girls can go to the pole, get a drink of water from a bottle they bring themselves. We sanitize the ball if it is touched. We wipe down cones. The girls are not hesitating to do anything we ask so that they can play field hockey.”

Todd French, who has been coaching soccer at Milford for over 13 years, supported Frederick’s concerns that if Milford did not have fall sports, students would leave the district for those who did have them.

“I have 13 very talented seniors,” French said. “They have been looking forward to this season for a long time and they knew that if they slipped up and did not do the right thing, they could cost the whole team and possibly the school. They felt like they should lead the way.

“I am concerned that if we decide not to have fall sports, I will have to push some of my very talented kids to another school. These kids have college scholarships on the line. That is just how it is in sports and I would hate to see that happen.”

Board member Jean Wylie asked about transportation to and from games.

Superintendent Dr. Kevin Dickerson explained that each bus was limited to 25 students and that drivers would follow the same protocols as they did for summer school. One of the DIAA board members said during their meeting this month that the sports groups need to push the Department of Public Health to change the bus rules for sports teams.

Athletics director Winkleblech said some teams may need to take two buses. Dickerson said spectators are limited to no more than one per student and that he expected that would remain throughout the season.

“As it is, we can only have 250 people if we get that approved by the state like we did for graduation,” Dickerson said. “We are looking at this as a conference because we want it to be uniform. If there are changes, we will keep the board informed.”

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Education Featured Sports

State Board of Education approves fall sports starting this month

Fall sports practices will start Sept. 28
Fall sports practices will start Sept. 28

By a 4-3 vote Thursday night, the Delaware State Board of Education approved a plan to allow fall high school sports to begin with practices Sept. 28 and games in October.

In order for schools to play, the board had to sign off on the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association’s flipflop on Emergency Resolution 1010/

The DIAA in August said fall sports would be moved to 2021, in between shortened seasons of winter and spring sports. But last week, the board reversed its position after the state said fall sports could be played with masks and other COVID-19 precautions. and Gov. John Carney — who frequently reminds people that he played sports in school — said publicly he thought the DIAA should re-examine its position.

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The DIAA change required the approval of the state Board of Education before it could be sent to school districts. Each now can decide whether or not it wants to field teams.

The Board of Education vote during its virtual meeting Thursday followed nearly three and one-half hours of reviewing the changes and questioning the four DIAA board members who attended the virtual meeting. They included DIAA board president Bradley Layfield; executive director Donna Polk; Dr. Brad Bley, a board member and head of the DIAA’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee; and Kevin Fitzgerald, who is also superintendent of Caesar Rodney School District.

In addition, the Board of Education also heard from 10 parents, nine of whom supported playing now. Among them were Frank Dowling, who helped spearhead the DIAA campaign “Let Them Play This Fall” petition, which had nearly 6,000 signatures by Thursday night, and Kelly Boettcher, who created the Facebook page for high school sports athletes and parents to urge Gov. John Carney and the Division of Public Health to give children a choice in whether to play.  

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Those voting in favor of the resolution were Vincent Lofink, Secretary of Education Susan Bunting, Candice Fifer and the Rev. Provy Powell, Jr. Lofink made the motion to accept the revision, with Bunting quickly seconding. Those voting against the resolution were board president Whitney Sweeney, vice president Wali Rushdan II and Dr. Audrey Noble.

Sweeney, Rushdan and Noble all expressed concern about the equity of the decision, whether that was athletes who might have trouble participating without school support, or might be in a district that chose not to offer sports, or because it was unfair to allow one group of students to participate in extracurricular activities and not allow others.

In voting yes, Lofink said that the BOE should let district superintendents and school boards make their decisions.

“We have this current recommendation from DIAA and we’ve heard their reasons and their good rationale tonight,” Lofink said. “I think it’s an appropriate decision for the local boards. That’s just my opinion.”

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Noble and Rushdan were passionate in their questoning and comments before casting their nay votes.

“I’m still not clear about how the circumstances regarding kids returning to sports has changed in just one month since DIAA strongly supported the delayed schedule,” Noble said.

The science has not changed and the spread of the virus hasn’t diminished, she said.

“Actually we’re seeing increases in the most recent tracking data on our positivity rates since the beginning of September,” Noble said. “We know a lot of that has to do with the colleges reopening and other events of that type.”

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She said she doubted schools and districts are ready to safely start fall sports, especially because they were told last month that they would be delayed until December.

 “Most importantly, I think the core of this decision is the rights of individuals and the responsibility to the community – the interest of some vs. the common good of all,” Noble said. “As a member of the state board, I believe we need to be committed to supporting equitable policies that represent all members of our educational community -– not just athletes, but all students and their families and educators and staff.

“All of whom are still vulnerable to this terrible disease.”

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Rushdan agreed that sports provide a vital role in a child’s educational experience, but pointed out that participation in sports is a privilege, not a right.

“Sports are not a constitutional obligation like the education of our children is,” he said. “Although we were experiencing sports in a very direct way without interruption like we are now, it is a privilege and we need to understand that. This is something that is secondary to the educational role that the schools play that to me is the most important component of our work.”

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Culture Headlines Health Schools Sports

State Board of Education approves fall sports starting this month

By a 4-3 vote Thursday night, the Delaware State Board of Education approved a plan to allow fall high school sports to begin with practices Sept. 28 and games in October.

In order for schools to play, the board had to sign off on the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association’s flipflop on Emergency Resolution 1010.

The DIAA in August said fall sports would be moved to 2021, in between shortened seasons of winter and spring sports. But last week, the board reversed its position after the state said fall sports could be played with masks and other COVID-19 precautions. and Gov. John Carney — who frequently reminds people that he played sports in school — said publicly he thought the DIAA should re-examine its position.

The DIAA change required the approval of the state Board of Education before it could be sent to school districts. Each now can decide whether or not it wants to field teams.

The Board of Education vote during its virtual meeting Thursday followed nearly three and one-half hours of reviewing the changes and questioning the four DIAA board members who attended the virtual meeting. They included DIAA board president Bradley Layfield; executive director Donna Polk; Dr. Brad Bley, a board member and head of the DIAA’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee; and Kevin Fitzgerald, who is also superintendent of Caesar Rodney School District.

In addition, the Board of Education also heard from 10 parents, nine of whom supported playing now. Among them were Frank Dowling, who helped spearhead the DIAA campaign “Let Them Play This Fall” petition, which had nearly 6,000 signatures by Thursday night, and Kelly Boettcher, who created the Facebook page for high school sports athletes and parents to urge Gov. John Carney and the Division of Public Health to give children a choice in whether to play.  

Those voting in favor of the resolution were Vincent Lofink, Secretary of Education Susan Bunting, Candice Fifer and the Rev. Provy Powell, Jr. Lofink made the motion to accept the revision, with Bunting quickly seconding. Those voting against the resolution were board president Whitney Sweeney, vice president Wali Rushdan II and Dr. Audrey Noble.

Sweeney, Rushdan and Noble all expressed concern about the equity of the decision, whether that was athletes who might have trouble participating without school support, or might be in a district that chose not to offer sports, or because it was unfair to allow one group of students to participate in extracurricular activities and not allow others.

In voting yes, Lofink said that the BOE should let district superintendents and school boards make their decisions.

“We have this current recommendation from DIAA and we’ve heard their reasons and their good rationale tonight,” Lofink said. “I think it’s an appropriate decision for the local boards. That’s just my opinion.”

Noble and Rushdan were passionate in their questoning and comments before casting their nay votes.

“I’m still not clear about how the circumstances regarding kids returning to sports has changed in just one month since DIAA strongly supported the delayed schedule,” Noble said.

The science has not changed and the spread of the virus hasn’t diminished, she said.

“Actually we’re seeing increases in the most recent tracking data on our positivity rates since the beginning of September,” Noble said. “We know a lot of that has to do with the colleges reopening and other events of that type.”

She said she doubted schools and districts are ready to safely start fall sports, especially because they were told last month that they would be delayed until December.

 “Most importantly, I think the core of this decision is the rights of individuals and the responsibility to the community – the interest of some vs. the common good of all,” Noble said. “As a member of the state board, I believe we need to be committed to supporting equitable policies that represent all members of our educational community -– not just athletes, but all students and their families and educators and staff.

“All of whom are still vulnerable to this terrible disease.”

Rushdan agreed that sports provide a vital role in a child’s educational experience, but pointed out that participation in sports is a privilege, not a right.

“Sports are not a constitutional obligation like the education of our children is,” he said. “Although we were experiencing sports in a very direct way without interruption like we are now, it is a privilege and we need to understand that. This is something that is secondary to the educational role that the schools play that to me is the most important component of our work.”

Categories
Sports

Milford Parks and Rec announces fall sports

by Terry Rogers 

On September 2, 2020, Governor John Carney issued guidelines that would allow fall sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On September 9, Milford Parks and Recreation announced that they would hold Soccer, Flag Football and Taekwondo. The Soccer season will run from September 19 through October 17 while Flag Football will run from September 22 through October 15. Taekwondo will run from September 22 through October 22.

“All coaches and staff must wear facemasks while players who are actively engaged in clinic activities will not be required to wear facemasks,” Nancy Martino, Coordinator, said. “Players and coaches must be six-feet away from each other at all times unless they are from the same household. Players will be provided adequate space for belongings. Players should bring their own water bottles and are encouraged to have them labeled. Spectators must also wear a facemask unless socially distanced from others outside their household. Players, staff and all participants must sanitize their hands before and after activities and we will provide hand sanitizer. Milford Parks and Recreation will provide equipment and will be sanitized prior to and after the clinics.”

Martino reminded all players, parents and coaches that they should stay home if they are sick and must contact Milford Parks and Recreation if they test positive for COVID-19. They should also inform the Delaware Department of Health about any exposures. Martino explained that all guidelines were provided by the Governor and that Milford has not added any additional precautions above what the state is requesting to keep people safe from COVID-19. Signage will be provided to help define and reinforce all guidelines.

“Parents will have to sign a waiver of liability related to COVID-19,” Martino said. “This waiver outlines the recommendations and details the preventative measures put in place ot reduce the spread of COVID-19. Starting times will be staggered to limit the number of spectators and players being together at the same time. We are not limiting the numbers of spectators at this time unless large gatherings exceed the safety protocols.”

Another step taken by Milford Parks & Recreation is that they will not hold in-person registrations. Parents may register children online through the City of Milford website or they may place a printed registration form along with a check or money order in a drop box that will be located at the Parks and Recreation building located at 207 Franklin Street. No cash will be accepted. Credit and debit cards may be used with online registration.

“It is incredibly important to have these types of sports for kids,” Martino said. “When we talk about youth sports, we strongly believe what kids need is the opportunity to be together with their friends, to be physically active and to test themselves competitively. Sports build character, increase confidence, motivate kids to stay in school and teach life lessons that extend well beyond the playing field. Most of all, kids need fun interaction in their lives, particularly now when they have very few outlets to connect with each other. Milford Parks and Recreation is committed to providing a safe environment for this to happen.”

Anyone with questions about fall sports programs can call Milford Parks and Recreation at 302-422-1104.