MCPS football coaches push for in-person training


Greer Vermilye

MCPS coaches have rallied together to request in-person football.

By Vishnu Dandi

Twenty-four football coaches from across Montgomery County urged MCPS to resume in-person athletic training during the coronavirus-related school closure.   

While Governor Larry Hogan has cleared in-person workouts, MCPS has not followed suit. As it stands, school-run athletics will resume in February. 

According to a joint statement from the coaches, preventing workouts and conditioning harms students’ physical and mental health. Additionally, some students have the option of private training while others remain isolated. Differences in access to training could lead to higher injury rates in the spring.

However, with COVID-19 cases rising across the county, MCPS officials have stood by their decision to prohibit in-person athletics. 

“Health metrics have not supported the return of in-person activities,” said Jeffery Sullivan, Director of System-Wide Athletics in MCPS. “The health and safety of students, staff and stakeholders is our utmost priority.”

Coaches are confident that they would be able to make training accessible to coaches and players while carefully following COVID-19 safety guidelines.

“We have been working on putting a plan together for in-person workouts,” said football head coach Dave Fyock. “If we have access to the indoor facilities, we will break them down into smaller groups and stagger the workout times” 

In the interim, MCPS has piloted “virtual athletics,” weekly practices held through Zoom that aim to bolster team spirit. 

“I participated in virtual football,” football player Bo Brenner said. “It was a great way to keep the players together and gave the rising freshman a chance to meet the team in person.”

The pandemic has affected not just county sports, it’s also impacted the collegiate recruitment process for graduating students. 

“The pandemic is holding back players who have an opportunity to get recruited,” Brenner said. “With no practices or games, it’s difficult to get the attention of scouts.” 

Athletics training will likely resume in February, according to the Board of Education’s recent proposal to return to in-person learning for the second semester. 

While athletes hope to return back to team practices, they trust the county’s judgement.

“Montgomery County athletics know what’s best for the players and the teams in regards to COVID-19 and resuming sports,” Brenner said.