CMS to begin phased return to athletic workouts for student-athletes

CMS to begin phased return to athletic workouts for student-athletes

CHARLOTTE — Charlotte-Mecklenburg School student-athletes in two high school sports will be allowed to start workouts again Monday.

The district announced a phased return to athletic workouts for student-athletes at CMS high school facilities beginning as early as Sept. 14.

Cross country and volleyball athletes will be the first allowed to work out Monday.

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“The decision to adopt a phased approach for the resumption of athletic activities included input from athletic directors and principals,” the district said in a news release. “The input was received both before and after the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s recent sports calendar changes. High school student-athletes’ return will be staggered with sports teams returning based on the revised sport calendar announced by the NCHSAA and input from athletic directors and principals.”

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Officials said athletes will have to adhere to strict rules. Indoor training sessions will be allowed to have 25 people, outdoor sports are allowed 50 and they will have to follow sanitation rules for equipment.

Practices for cross country and volleyball would begin Nov. 4 with the season beginning on Nov. 16. Swim teams would begin practices on Nov. 23 and the season, along with basketball practice, starts on Dec. 7. They will also get more meets than they originally planned.

“We are pleased to announce a return to on-campus athletic activity for our high school student-athletes and staff,” said CMS director of Athletics Sue Doran. “We understand the importance and impact of athletic participation and believe our phased approach will enable us to safeguard the health of everyone involved.”

“CMS athletic directors, coaches, and staff are up-to-date on current health and safety guidelines and will be prepared to welcome our high school student-athletes back for skills development workouts under these guidelines,” said Doran.

Middle school athletics will not resume workouts or competition during the first semester, CMS also said. CMS’ decision to postpone middle school athletics was based on several factors, including funding challenges.

Middle school sports depend upon high school athletics participation fees and a $1 surcharge, CMS said. With NCHSAA postponing start dates for high school sports, funding availability will be delayed.

Also, with CMS opening in an all-remote learning environment, middle school students would face challenges to get to campuses for athletics.

NC high school football postponed until February, other sports delayed

CMS also announced today that it will allow community use partners, extended use partners, and joint use partners to use outdoor athletic fields managed by the district.

Beginning Aug. 24, partners can use CMS’ outdoor facilities for baseball and softball games and practices. For all other outdoor sports and activities, only practices will be allowed until further notice. Community use partners must follow NCDHHS guidelines for such usage.

When CMS student-athletes return to workouts or competition, community use of CMS outdoor facilities will return to normal in-season restrictions for community use, with CMS student-athletes and teams having priority.

Football is not expected to begin until February. The football state playoffs will begin April 16 and culminate in early May.

CMS is not the only district resuming some sports today, but Cabarrus County is moving a little faster with their phased approach.

Volleyball, cross country, swim and theatre ensembles can return Monday. Basketball, men’s soccer and cheer will return at the end of the month, with nearly every other sport back in practice by Nov. 9.