RSU 50 board gives OK to winter sports

ISLAND FALLS, Maine — The winter sports season was approved by the RSU 50 school board Monday, Dec. 14, though not without considerable discussion.

Superintendent Jon Porter said the subject created a “lengthy discussion” by the board with concerns raised on both sides of the issue.

The Maine Principals’ Association, in conjunction with the Maine CDC, gave the go-ahead for a winter sports season to happen in Maine, despite a stark spike in the number of daily COVID-19 cases.

Athletes could begin conditioning drills starting Dec. 14, but no formal team activities or practices are allowed until Jan. 4. A 12-game season is tentatively set to begin Jan. 14. The season traditionally began the first week of December, but has been twice delayed by the Maine Principals’ Association.

Several schools in central and northern Aroostook County have switched to a remote learning model until after the Christmas break, which means no extracurricular activities can happen for those student athletes. 

The schools that have switched to a remote learning model until Jan. 4 include SAD 1 (Presque Isle), SAD 42 (Central Aroostook), SAD 45 (Washburn), Limestone Community School, RSU 84 (East Grand), RSU 89 (Caribou), and SAD 47 (Fort Kent).

“The decision was not unanimous. It passed with a 5-1 vote,” Porter said. 

Board member Greg Ryan of Island Falls cast the lone dissenting vote. Three board members were not able to attend the meeting, Porter said.

The board also received its annual audit from David Alward of the accounting firm Davis, Gates and Alward. Porter said the audit revealed no area of concern and no recommendations for adjustments were needed at this time.  

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