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BOONE — The Watauga County Schools schedule for middle school sports will largely follow the new high school sports calendar announced Aug. 12, Assistant Superintendent Stephen Martin said.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association made significant changes to the high school sports calendar in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, announcing that no practices for any sports will be held until Nov. 4, and high-contact sports such as football and wrestling will be moved to the spring.

“Of course this day and age everything is subject to change,” Martin said. “We’re going to try our best to have middle school sports this year.”

As with the high school calendar, seasons will likely be shorter than normal, he said. No official practices or tryouts would be held during the first nine weeks of the school year, during which Watauga County Schools are holding all classes online. Some voluntary workouts might be permitted, Martin said.

Volleyball and cross-country would start in late October or early November. The school system is moving ahead with its new districtwide middle school basketball team, with a schedule dependent on teams in neighboring counties.

One way that Watauga County Schools could deviate from the high school sports calendar is with boys soccer, Martin said. The high school calendar starts boys soccer in January, but Martin said WCS likely would hold both girls and boys soccer in April and May.

Martin said that middle school sports typically take direction from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, with additional guidance from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

“(As far as) when seasons can start and end, I think all that’s a little more flexible this year,” Martin said. “Everyone wants to play sports — we’re just trying to do it safely. We’re being flexible and trying to do the right thing for our students.”

Martin encouraged any families with students interested in playing middle school sports to visit www.familyid.com/organizations/watauga-middle-school-athletics to submit the necessary paperwork.

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