WINSLOW — There will be football this fall at Winslow High School, but it will not be played like usual.

The Winslow School Board approved 7-on-7 flag football during a meeting Monday night at the old junior high school.

Flag football is not sponsored by the Maine Principals’ Association, or the MPA. Instead, it is a school-sponsored activity within the state’s community sports guidelines.

The school board voted 5-0, with one abstention, to allow the team, which now has 27 players, to compete in 10 flag football games.

Traditional football and indoor volleyball, both under the MPA’s purview, were canceled this fall due to safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Venues may allow 100 people per event, even if outdoors, according to Gov. Janet Mills’ executive order. That number includes athletes, coaches and referees.

All Winslow athletic events, home and away, are to be livestreamed. Athletic departments need at least 1,000 YouTube subscribers to do so.

“I know it’s tough to watch because it’s kind of far away, but it’s better than the alternative of not watching your child play,” Winslow Athletic Director Jim Bourgoin said. “We’ll get better as we learn how to do this.”

For spectators at the high school level, Bourgoin suggested three options: Dividing tickets equally among team members, giving one ticket per athlete or allowing only senior athletes to give out two passes each. Each spectator must wear a mask and show a preapproved ticket.

After much discussion, the School Board voted 4-1, with one abstention, in favor of each senior receiving two passes, with other athletes getting any extras on a rotating basis — up to the 100-person limit — or whatever the number might be, if changed.

If there is noncompliance, the game would be canceled.

At the middle school level, all athletes will get one ticket, with additional spaces distributed on a rotating basis, up to the state guideline. The board also voted 4-1, with one abstention, for this plan.

Winslow recently opened new teaching space for seventh- and eighth-grade students, in an addition to the high school. The $8.1 million project included an extra wing for the sixth grade, but sixth-graders are learning at the old junior high school to comply with pandemic-driven spacing requirements.

Winslow has three cohorts for students. There is a fully remote section, with students who chose in-person education divided by surnames — A-La and Le-Z. They alternate between in-person and remote learning.

The district held an in-service day Friday, and officials were expected to present the board Monday night with a proposal to move to fully in-person learning or continue with the current plan.

However, the district began school a week late due to a shortage in personal protective equipment, or PPE, required by the COVID-19 pandemic. That decision, therefore, has been delayed and Winslow schools will continue with the current plan for the time being.

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