Alexandria City Public Schools is preparing to go back to school with an all-online model, school administrators are working to adapt the school systems’ athletics program to a new, condensed schedule.
James Parker, Director of Athletics and Student Activities, said that like the rest of the state, Alexandria sports will have a modified schedule with sporting events currently planned to start again in January.
“The winter season will start on the 1st of the year, then the fall season after that, in February or March,” Parker said.
All sports teams will play 60 percent of their regular seasons. So if there are ten football games in a season, the Titans will only play six of them. Parker said ACPS is still working with the Virginia High School League to figure out how playoffs would be run, if at all.
Parker said many students who were likely to get scholarships were already being scouted in their junior years, but that it could be late spring or early summer before some get their offers. The only concern is that they won’t have any information on whether some of the athletes improved, meaning some students who have outstanding seasons their senior year might not be recognized for that in scholarships. Parker said there will be a lot of college coaches taking the word of high school coaches this year.
The bigger concern, Parker said, is a backlog at the college level as students who would have graduated from the colleges are allowed to finish out their seasons the coming year.
“Lets say there’s 50 kids on a football team and ten leave,” Parker said. “If we don’t have football this year, those kids will get to stay. But what happens to the ten kids who were going to move up? They’re going to have to expand rosters, possibly, or sit out for a year.”
In the meantime, Parker said athletics programs are still planning to do no-contact conditioning days.
“That means nothing with shared equipment, so no tackling dummies or helmets,” Parker said. “So it’s more about conditioning and running. It’s like a camp.”
If the students are able to meet again in person this year, Parker said one of the lessons from the spring would be having senior night as soon as possible in case there’s a second wave.
“If we’re able to start, knowing that things can be automatically shut down, we would do Senior Nights at the beginning,” Parker said. “We would move those up, just in the event that things happen and we have to go back to shutdown, so at least those kids get recognized.”
ACPS’ Virtual Plus+ plan was submitted to the Virginia Department of Education for review today (Friday).