SMASD approves return-to-play plan for sports teams

Amy Cherry
Staff Writer

Athletic coaches in the St. Marys Area School District will soon receive guidance about starting athletic practices. On Monday evening during a special meeting, the St. Marys Area School District Board of School Directors unanimously approved a return-to-play plan.
SMASD School Board President Eric Wonderling emphasized the plan addresses a return to practice policy, not a return to competition as the PIAA has not released competition guidelines for games.
The board also agreed they reserve the right to update the plan or suspend practices. This would be managed by the school administration and the school board could filter any information they receive through Superintendent Brian Toth and soon to be Assistant Superintendent Harley Ramsey.
Included in SMASD’s new plan are guidelines pertaining to cleaning and sanitizing, social distancing, monitoring health of students and staff, and professional development/education.
On June 10 Gov. Wolf announced the decision to resume sports-related activities, including conditioning, practices, and games, is at the discretion of a school entity’s governing body. Each school entity must develop and adopt an Athletics Health and Safety Plan aligning to the Pennsylvania Department of Education Guidance for Phases Reopening of Pre-K to 12 Schools prior to conducting sports-related activities with students. SMASD Athletic Department will adhere to the “Guidelines Applicable to All Sporting Events” as identified by Gov Wolf.
SMAHS Principal Joe Schlimm is the primary point of conduct on the matter. He will work directly through the school’s athletic department. Missy Nicklas will be assisting with the new plan as she SMASD Student Activities Director Terry Straub is out for while.
SMASD based their return-to-play plan on a policy from Brockway Area School District, which they made additional adjustments to in order to customize it for SMASD.