MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — Two dozen Montgomery County high school football coaches are asking local leaders to allow them to hold in-person workouts in the near future.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan recently gave Maryland school districts the opportunity to kick off their fall athletic seasons.
Some Maryland school districts have taken Hogan up on his offer amid the spread of the coronavirus, but Montgomery County has not.
So, the Montgomery County Public School Football Coaches Association recently tweeted a letter encouraging local officials to change their minds.
The letter, which is addressed to Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and the Montgomery County School Board, argues Montgomery County's coronavirus figures are on par with other counties allow sports to be practiced or played.
The letter also mentions the coaches are concerned their football players are not getting the same opportunities to train like athletes in other sports who have club and AAU leagues.
"Football is a high school driven sport, the letter reads. "Athletes who participate in football have essentially been left to fend for themselves as it relates to training and skill development."
The letter says football teams would follow coronavirus guidelines make in-person training opportunities optional for players and coaches.
Montgomery County Public Schools released the following statement regarding the coaches' request:
"At this time, MCPS Athletics will continue operating virtually as outlined in our framework for virtual athletics. The COVID-19 Task Force for MCPS Athletics will continue planning efforts for the safe return of in-person activities, when health metrics allow and in alignment with MCPS operations and the return of students to in-person learning. The task force includes representation from the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services to ensure we are following the most current and safe protocols and procedures.
MCPS understands the importance of student participation in athletics and extracurricular activities and is committed to returning to the in-person delivery of these programs. MCPS will continue to monitor information and guidance regarding the administration of interscholastic athletics and extracurricular activities and provide updates as appropriate."
Another statement from County Executive Elrich also mentioned the county's health department is providing guidance to the school system:
"We support the COVID-19 Task Force for MCPS Athletics and their efforts as they continue to develop plans that will enable students, coaches and staff to safely return of in-person athletic activities when conditions in the county allow. Dr. Gayles and Dr. Stoddard meet with MCPS on a biweekly basis to provide feedback and guidance on their reopening plans."
But, some of the county's football players say they still want to play their sport this season.
"From my perspective, I'd say it's fairly safe [to play], seeing as how there's professional leagues doing it [and] colleges are doing it," said Malek Sabri, a senior football player at Damascus High School.
He said he is worried he will miss out on special high school experiences.
"We honestly grew up watching the seniors and we, as players, looked forward to that almost entire lives," Sabri said. "And, then, to have that stripped away from us is really upsetting."
But he added that even more may be on the line for certain athletes who could be good enough to get a college scholarship for athletics.
"There's so many opportunities that are being taken away with scholarships and things like that," Sabri said.