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'I think that information will be given to us': District 3 still awaiting guidance from PIAA, state

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Carlisle Football 10.JPG (copy)

Schools are still awaiting guidance from the PIAA and state as to when and how to get high school sports back up and running. District 3's leadership said they are still waiting for word during a meeting that happened minutes after the Department of Education released preliminary guidelines for school instruction. 

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Without any further guidance from Gov. Tom Wolf's administration or the PIAA, there was not much District 3 could say Wednesday morning during its monthly meeting.

The district’s board last met via Zoom on May 21, a day after the PIAA’s most recent board meeting. The PIAA doesn’t meet again until June 15, and neither it nor Wolf have provided many further details as to how the state’s high schools can get sports back up and running.

“I do not [know what guidelines everyone is looking for], and I don’t want to speak out of church,” District 3 chairman Douglas Bohannon said to reporters at the end of the meeting, which wrapped up just short of noon. “But I think there’s a task force put together that’s working with that, but I’m not 100% sure. So I don’t think it’s one person working on that, so I think there’s a group of people who will be tackling that task. But I don’t know for 100% sure.”

That comment came minutes after the Pennsylvania Department of Education released preliminary school reopening guidelines, which were published just before District 3’s meeting. The guidelines didn’t not lay out plans for organized team sports, saying “guidance … will be published separately.” The DOE said schools must follow “CDC considerations for Youth Sports” for recess and gym classes.

Education Department Officials: Pa. schools can reopen in-person teaching on July 1
Read the NFHS guidelines for safe high school sports competition in 2020-21: Phased return to activity, safety and sanitization, attendance and masks
PIAA will allow offseason workouts in counties given go-ahead by state, health officials

That leaves the PIAA, District 3 and schools in the dark at least for a little longer as the state inches closer to releasing those guidelines.

The Department of Health released FAQ's on May 22 reaffirming organized team sports can resume under green phase, but did not provide details as to how or in what form.

Local Sports: DOH reaffirms no team sports until green phase
Pro sports can resume in Pennsylvania, without spectators

The district mostly touched on committee reporters from each sport — Stephanie Deibler and Pat Tully offered a little dry humor reporting proudly this year’s district baseball and softball went off without rain delays — provided updates on upcoming PIAA rules changes to unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and sub-varsity football, finalized its 2020-21 meeting schedule and discussed the District 3 postseason brackets.

The latter is not yet finalized until the PIAA finalizes its state brackets, which is expected at the next meeting.

As with the previous meeting, the district leadership did briefly touch on the status of fall sports and summer workouts during the coronavirus pandemic. And like the last meeting, it’s still very much in a wait-and-see phase.

Bohannon reiterated to the dozens in attendance — May’s meeting eclipsed 160 viewing athletic directors, media members and board members, whereas Wednesday’s meeting was closer to a quarter of that number — July 1 is still the likely return date. As of this time, no counties in District 3, including Cumberland County, are in the green phase of the state’s reopening policy. That is expected to change in the coming weeks for at least some of those counties.

“I think the pieces will be what is allowed, and what will we be permitted to do?” Bohannon said. “Once we get the guidelines and once we know what we’re permitted to do — and what I mean by that — is if it’s football, will they be allowed to meet in groups of 10? Will they be allowed to meet in groups of 15? Can they meet three days a week? I don’t know what that looks like. I think that information will be given to us. I don’t think we’ll be making those decisions. When that happens, as stated at the last PIAA meeting, some areas will be able to get started before others.”

Lower Dauphin athletic director and field hockey/basketball chairman Dave Bitting voiced one bit of concern during the meeting. He cited schools efforts to hold virtual or parade-style graduation ceremonies as a situation where it seems those schools are trying “to one-up somebody at this point in time.”

“We got challenges ahead of us, and I don’t want to belabor those at this point because we don’t have any of the guidelines right now,” Bitting said. “But once we receive those guidelines and start moving forward, I think it’s important that we are all on the same page as a district and we’re consistent how we’re handling things.”

Bohannon added he thinks people are “getting optimistic.”

“But what optimistic and brighter means, we don’t know yet,” he said. “But hopefully things will look good for the fall in some manner.”

District 3 isn’t scheduled to have another meeting until Aug. 10, but Bohannon said they may have one or two more meetings before then once state and PIAA guidelines are released. No dates are set for those meetings.

Other news

  • Bohannon thanked Hal Griffiths and Rich Czarnecki for their years of serving with District 3. Czarnecki was most recently the male officials rep, and Griffiths served as the cross country chairman and was on the executive committee. “It’s been a real, real great experience that I would not give up for anything,” Griffiths said. “I appreciate being a part of this, being around you outstanding people,” Czarnecki said. “I’m gonna miss it.”
  • District 3 is also considering getting rid of printed postseason programs and doing them all digitally going forward. Treasurer Robert Baker said it’s likely if they tallied the total cost and revenue from the sports that produce printed programs, the district is probably losing money. Bitting said it would be a good opportunity to give sports that don’t have a program a digital version to be consistent with all sports.
  • Bitting will serve as the district’s third representative on the PIAA board during the next two-year cycle which starts this year.

Sentinel Senior Day: Celebrating our local Class of 2020 spring athletes

Happy Sentinel Senior Day.

Today, we celebrate the Class of 2020 spring sports seniors — a class of more than 560 across more than a dozen schools in Cumberland County and Dillsburg.

You deserve a day dedicated to you. This was supposed to be an exciting spring — the most competitive, fun and important season of your high school careers. It was to be filled with laughs, sweaty practices and emotional wins over career rivals.

You had prom coming up, graduation around the corner. Some of you were still weighing decisions about your future, whether it be college or something else.

This is an important year for you all, and one you'll never forget. The coronavirus pandemic has made sure of that.

But today will not be about mourning those losses. Today, we celebrate.

Today, we recognize a historic class of student-athletes. Included in these pages are your memories and your future plans in your own words. There are photos — from the confines of home, in the midst of competition, in your Senior Day best — to accompany this. And a list of all of your classmates to remember for a long time.

You have the rest of your lives ahead of you. Some of you will get another chance to compete in college and perhaps beyond. Some will become doctors, entrepreneurs, community activists, firefighters, police officers or members of the military defending our country.

You may start a family one day. You may travel the world. You may build a life far away or right down the street from your childhood home. Maybe we’ll cover a few of you in the coming years as coaches. It will be exciting to see how your lives play out.

So, cheers to you. All of you. Congratulations on final careers as students and athletes, and good luck in your future endeavors, whatever shape they may take.

- The Sentinel Sports Staff: Jake Adams, Mallory Merda and Michael Heaton

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The Sentinel celebrates the Bulldogs spring senior athletes.

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The Sentinel celebrates the Bubblers spring senior athletes.

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The Sentinel celebrates the Lions spring senior athletes.

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The Sentinel celebrates the Thundering Herd spring senior athletes.

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The Sentinel celebrates the Colts spring senior athletes.

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The Sentinel celebrates the Eagles spring senior athletes.

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The Sentinel celebrates the Panthers spring senior athletes.

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The Sentinel celebrates the Wildcats spring senior athletes.

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The Sentinel celebrates the Polar Bears spring senior athletes.

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The Sentinel celebrates the Patriots spring senior athletes.

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The Sentinel celebrates the Greyhounds spring senior athletes.

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The Sentinel celebrates the Shamrocks spring senior athletes.

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The Sentinel celebrates the Bobcats spring senior athletes.

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Sentinel Senior Day was a community supported effort involving high school athletes, coaches, athletic directors, families and photographers.

Email Jake Adams at jadams@cumberlink.com or follow him on Twitter @jakeadams520

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