ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Student-athletes who wish to play varsity football at any Orange County Public Schools amid the coronavirus pandemic will either need to learn from home or with a learning pod of their teammates, according to a new policy with the school district.
The decision was made after recommendations made from the OCPS medical advisory committee, according to the school district, and only applies to varsity football players.
“OCPS is committed to safely and successfully launching fall sports. Given the factors associated with playing varsity football and the recommendations from our Medical Advisory Committee, the district is taking additional measures to ensure the safety of the entire student body,” a district spokesperson said in an email. “Students will be able to continue their education on LaunchEd@Home or within a cohort group of their teammates. This will ensure that those athletes having direct contact and unable to adequately social distance, will not expose non-team members while attending face-to-face instruction.”
The student-athletes will have until Monday, Aug. 31 to decide to learn from home or at school, according to OCPS.
According to the district’s sports plan for the Fall, football tryouts and practice starts on Aug. 31 with the first game the week of Sept. 17.
Eight regular season games will be played.
Also on Friday, the district released more details about what fall sporting events will look like.
According to the email, band performances will be recorded in advance and played over the loud speakers during the game, pep rally performances from band, cheerleaders, dance teams, JROTC and color guard will be filmed in the stadium with a limited number of spectators then played for students on game day and videos of student performances will be shown on scoreboards during select games.
“Student leadership teams are engaging to help create other ways to showcase student talent and promote school spirit. COVID-19 data will be constantly monitored to inform any decision regarding adjustments to health and safety plans,” the email read.