December 7, 2020
We, the school leaders of the Merrimack Valley Conference (MVC), share a common commitment to keeping our students, staff, and community safe during the current health crisis. We also know that the commitment to safety extends beyond the impact of COVID-19, and includes the physical, social, and emotional health of our students. As part of that commitment to student safety, we understand the important role that athletics plays in our students’ lives and aim to balance the ability for students to participate athletically with the need to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in our schools and communities.
On November 20, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) Board of Directors voted to approve sport-specific modifications for the 2020-2021 winter season. These modifications include basketball, gymnastics, ice hockey, skiing, and swimming & diving, but do not include wrestling, indoor track, winter cheerleading, and dance, which have been moved to future seasons. The modifications also set a new start date for the winter sports season of December 14, 2020.
As MVC leaders, we have continued our weekly meetings that began in early October, and have developed the following two-phased approach to the upcoming winter season:
Phase I (Practices/Tryouts) - Starts December 14
The winter sports season for practices/tryouts will begin no earlier than December 14.
Individual schools will make decisions about the timing for beginning practices/tryouts based upon the local context of each school community.
Over the four weeks of Phase I, schools will assess the effectiveness of sports modifications and cleaning protocols, as well as the trajectory of the virus, to determine if athletics can proceed to Phase II - Interscholastic Competitions
Phase II (Interscholastic Competitions) - Starts January 11
Interscholastic competitions can start no earlier than January 11.
Schedules will be designed, by sport, to minimize the number of schools within a competitive cohort in a given week.
Spectators will not be permitted to attend any indoor competitions.
We are hopeful that we will be able to continue to have athletics, including interscholastic competitions, among our member schools this winter, and we urge the members of our communities to practice proper health protocols (mask wearing, physical distancing, etc.) so that our student-athletes can have the opportunity to compete.
Sheldon Berman, Superintendent, Andover Public Schools
Timothy Piwowar, Superintendent, Billerica Public Schools
Christopher Sullivan, President, Central Catholic High School
Jay Lang, Superintendent, Chelmsford Public Schools
Steven Stone, Superintendent, Dracut Public Schools
Margaret Marotta, Superintendent, Haverhill Public Schools
Joel D. Boyd, Superintendent, Lowell Public Schools
Brandi Kwong, Superintendent, Methuen Public Schools
Gregg T. Gilligan, Superintendent, North Andover Public Schools
Chris Malone, Superintendent, Tewksbury Public Schools