Since its creation in 1981, The Friends Schools League and its member institutions have held, as the League mission statement notes, “the growth and development of students as athletes and people” at the forefront.
As we face the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19, how to ensure that this ongoing growth and development happens safely is a challenge facing schools, families and the Friends Schools League as the start of the 2020-21 academic year approaches. It is clear to us that public health conditions in the mid-Atlantic region make engaging in interscholastic competitions far more complex than they are typically.
Recognizing our profound responsibility to our student-athletes, their families, our schools and the surrounding communities, the Friends Schools League Athletics Administrators have reached a sense of unity to make the difficult decision to postpone official Friends Schools League fall interscholastic competitions in all sports, effective immediately.
We did not reach this sense of unity lightly. We have met weekly since mid-June to explore potential scenarios that would allow for safe interscholastic competition between our schools as has been the case for each of the preceding 38 fall seasons since the League’s founding.
With every alternative we considered, from delaying the start of the fall season, to staggering the start, to postponing some sports but not others, we always returned to the questions of whether we believed a proposal was responsible, equitable and safe for our students, families and communities.
We will now shift our focus to reimagining elements of the FSL athletics experience in order to create opportunities for the healthy physical, mental and emotional connections that are so important for our student-athletes. Among our ongoing efforts are:
(1) developing robust internal athletics offerings in each of our schools when possible;
(2) exploring informal and virtual competitions between schools; and
(3) designing a schedule to allow for the possibility of a compressed fall competitive season later in the year.
Over the next several months, the Friends Schools League will assess public health conditions in our schools and communities, follow national, state and local guidance and continue our work with city and county public health officials in order to determine a safe way forward for all involved in our League.
Abington Friends School
Clerk of Friends Schools League
On behalf of FSL Athletics Administrators