Update on 2020 Season
Squire families - this will be a long message, as we want to try to answer all questions and have everyone fully informed as to where things stand right now for 2020.
As many of you have heard over the last 30 hours the MPA has chosen to cancel the fall football season for schools in Maine. They have also indicated that because the State has marked York county at a level of YELLOW, that school sports are not allowed to practice or play games. The MPA only governs MPA member schools, which means that their rules do not directly apply to the Squires.
The State, via several agencies (DHHS, DECP, and a letter from the governor) also posted their Community Sports guidelines. Those guidelines deem tackle football as high risk, and their guidelines indicate that they recommend that tackle football not be played. The State's guidelines recommend 7-on-7 (flag) football as an alternative.
The Southern Maine Youth Football League that the Squires belong to has voted to not sponsor games in the fall of 2020, looking toward possibly having spring football if there are enough teams with enough players to make a spring season viable.
The State has published their documents as "guidelines". These are not rules, ordinances, or laws. As many of you know, the kids have been playing sports all summer long, in many cases choosing to ignore guidelines set by the State. To this point, the Squires have followed every guideline posted by the State.
We as an organization decided tonight that we want to stay the course and play tackle football. We can practice exactly how we have been doing, hand out the rest of the pads, start having contact drills at practice, and preparing to play game scenarios. That is all within current State guidelines.
The State's guidelines recommend that teams be broken into one or more cohort (group), each cohort being no more than 30 kids, which we have done (middle school has split into 7th and 8th grade groups to maintain group sizes). Our players can play full contact football within their cohort. This is all within current State's guidelines.
Unless the State changes the status of tackle football, or changes their assessment of tackle football, the State's guidelines say we should not play games with other cohorts, meaning no games with other teams.
Currently 4 other tackle football clubs that we have been in contact with are planning to follow the same path as the Squires. These are Maine teams, ones that are also following the State guidelines, that the Squires have played in past years. The goal is to still have scrimmages against each other, starting on the last weekend of September or first weekend of October.
Surrounding states all have given the go ahead to play football. As of last weekend, States with much higher infection rates that are already playing football have had zero cross-team transmissions of COVID-19 while playing tackle football games, even after playing thousands of games.
The next few days have us at a decision point for families.
While the coaches remain committed to continue doing all that we can to keep the kids safe and playing tackle football this year, it is ultimately up to our families. Knowing that our goal is the play tackle football against other teams this year, do you want to continue with the season?
The following link will take you to a brief survey with a couple questions to answer to let us know your stance on the season. Play tackle football with other teams, practice tackle football but have no games with others, or swap completely to flag football and turn in gear.
If you have questions that are not answered in this message, you can send an email to us at the following address and we will answer as quickly as possible.
Football coaches will be holding a quick parent meeting at the start of practice on Tuesday. Please meet at your child's entry gate to the Rec Field at the assigned drop-off time, maintaining your social distance and please wear your mask!
Face Shields/Spit Shields
During the Parent Meeting last week, and again last night, the question came up about whether players should have helmet face shields (also referred to as 'spit shields'). While the Squires are not endorsing the use of these, but also not discouraging their use, here are some answers and info for parents to help you decide.
Before you race out and buy spit shields, please read this entire message...
Currently Schutt has the two piece versions in stock (with S/H, $31 for the 2 piece set):
Very hard to find the one piece full face shields that cover both eyes and mouth, or even the lower portion of a two piece shield set right now. The Schutt spit shields will fit our helmets even though we use Riddell helmets. Riddell does not make these shields. Oakley and UnderArmor also make shields that either velcro or clamp onto our masks.
The shields must be 100% color free, and cannot have a reflective tint. They must be able to attach firmly at all points, and be inside of the helmet's face mask. These requirements are in the NFHS rule book.
There is currently no research proving that these spit shields make the game safer with regards to COVID. Wearing these mask may actually increase the risk of infection, where as on rainy/muddy days a player will constantly be putting their hands on both sides of the spit shield to clean it, likely bringing their hands into contact with their face, which is a high infection risk scenario. On cooler days the shields do tend to fog up also, especially with it in front of their mouth, again resulting in the player needing to put their hand inside their face mask, touching their face.
With all that said, it is a personal/family choice. If you feel safer with this in place, go for it. Buy a brand-name though if you do! Scams are definitely out there and their products are not tested safe.
WEEK #1 - Changes to drop-off areas/gates
During the parent meeting, it was mentioned that things are very fluid with what is happening this year. So here is our back-to-back Day #1 curve balls.
The town's construction on the second parking lot did not get completed on time, and the Parking Lot #2 is NOT going to be open on August 31. We will advise as soon as we know it is safe for use, but for now we are needing to rework our drop-off areas and gate usage for Week #1.
Also, baseball has not completed the take-down of down their outfield fences, so teams are going to be moved around a bit from the normal field space for this first week only
A new diagram has been put together to show everyone where to go tonight (see below)
When you arrive tonight at your gate, a member of the Squires program will be taking attendance and temperatures as players arrive. A coach will also be at the gate to direct players to their assigned practice area.
As a reminder, because of State guidelines right now, we are limited in the number of people that we can have at our practice field. Unfortunately, this means we cannot have parents inside the main fence, so that we stay below the 100 person count currently allowed by the state. Parents are welcome to sit/stand outside the main fence and watch practice from there after they have brought their child to their assigned gate.
At the end of the night, coaches will walk the players over to the same gate for pick-up.
Please make every effort to arrive and depart at your assigned time, as we have staggered the drop-off and pickup times to try to minimize the number of people arriving at the gates at the same time.
PRACTICES - CHEER
PRACTICES - FOOTBALL
DROP-OFFS and PICK-UPS from practice
Parents - Please review this image explaining which gate your child(ren) should use when entering the practice field this year.
Parent Meeting - Wednesday, August 19, 2020
During the Parent Meeting, a slide deck was shown during the presentation. While this slide deck does not contain all of the detail that was explained verbally, it contains the bullet points. This link will open the Google slide deck. If you have specific questions, you can email the Squires Response Team at ResponseTeam@NobleSquires.org
The Southern Maine Youth Football League (SMYFL) in which the Squires participate, has decided there will be a 2020 season!
There are still many things that could change that decision, but as things stand now, SMYFL will follow the Maine Principals' Association (MPA) guidelines for returning to Fall Sports, and have a 2020 football season. If the MPA allows High School football, we will play tackle football at grades 3-8
Unfortunately though, we will not be able to have Tikes (first and second grade) tackle football this season. With only two organizations opting to have programs at this level this year, we cannot have a viable season for Tikes. We are recommending that kids who want to play football this year participate in our flag football program.
A new MPA guideline update is due out this week, scheduled for Friday. Currently the plan allows the following dates for us to start actual football practices with the Squires:
--- Conditioning Week (MS, PW, Mite): Mon, August 31 through Fri, Sept 4
--- Start practice in gear (Flag, MS, PW, Mite): Tue, September 8 (dates/times TBA for each team)
--- First games: Sat/Sun Sept 19/20
The season will include 6 games at all levels. For middle school, four teams will make the playoffs, meaning two weeks of playoffs following the regular season.
There is a possibility that this week’s MPA guideline update may allow us to continue to have positional practices during the month of August like we did in June and July. We will post further information on that as it becomes available.
Knowing there will be lots of questions from families, the Squires are currently putting together a written plan to share with families on how we intend to handle the season with respect to COVID-19. While most of the plan is covered in the MPA guidelines (which are 22 pages long), the Squires will have additional procedures we will be implementing but we will simplify into a much shorter document. Details to come in the next few days.
The Squires will also be holding a parent only meeting, live or virtual to be determined, where we will present the plan to our families and answer questions that anyone has. Date and details to follow.