It looks like Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools student-athletes will finally find out when they get on the field again.
CMS says it will announce a workout schedule for student-athletes and staff by Friday, Aug. 21.
The district said the upcoming announcement will “provide clarity on opening dates and procedures for workouts to resume with student-athletes receiving guidance from coaches and staff at CMS facilities and athletic fields.”
The district released that news shortly after The Observer posted a story saying a CMS board member was ready to force a vote to allow student-athletes to return to practice.
“I think everybody will certainly be anxiously awaiting the announcement as to when we can get back on the field,” Myers Park football coach Scott Chadwick said, “and like I’ve said before, I think it’s something that is needed for the kids, not so much for their physical health at this point, but for their mental health.”
Local students have not participated in on campus sports activities since March when the N.C. High School Athletic Association canceled its high school basketball tournament and all spring sports due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The NCHSAA allowed its more than 400 member schools to begin offseason workouts June 15, but left the final decision up to local school systems.
CMS, so far, has not allowed students to return to campus for workouts.
CMS will begin classes Monday, and next week will be a “dead period” for sports in the district, per NCHSAA guidelines.
So the following Monday, Aug. 24, would be the earliest date that CMS students could return to sports.
On that date, they could begin in-school season skill development sessions. Earlier this week, the NCHSAA released a new sports calendar, pushing back the start of the season to Nov. 4. High school football, for example, will not begin until February.
NCHSAA spokesperson James Alverson said that in skill development, coaches would be allowed to work with up to 10 players indoors and 25 players outside under the state’s Phase 2 guidelines but with no protective equipment or contact allowed.
“Now that the High School Athletic Association has provided its proposed schedule, we have the guideposts we need from a scheduling standpoint to develop proposed dates for when our student-athletes can once again participate in workouts led by coaches and staff,” CMS Athletics Director Sue Doran said.
The district said principals and athletic directors have been meeting to determine how best to return athletic teams to on campus workouts.
Doran said the district’s return to play plan would comply with NCHSAA guidelines for enhanced safety measures and procedures for protecting student-athlete and staff health.
CMS said it will use social-distancing procedures, have athletes wear protective face coverings and use temperature checks and other health screenings when athletes return.
“I’m excited that they’re providing a plan for us to move forward,” West Charlotte coach Sam Greiner said. “I think everybody’s doing a really good job now of providing information for us, and even though they weren’t the first, I felt like they got it right.
“The kids are going to be super excited This is what they’ve been wanting for a long, long time — to interact with and be around their brothers. It’s going to be amazing for everybody. Instead of group chats and messages and Zooms, we get to have real person-to-person communication finally.”