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Maine high schools won't play football, volleyball this fall

Posted September 10, 2020 4:23 p.m. EDT

— Maine high schools won't offer football or volleyball this fall, but will proceed with other sports, the Maine Principals' Association announced on Thursday.

The principals' association made the announcement in conjunction with state officials. The coronavirus pandemic shut down high school sports in the state in April.

The principals' association cautioned Thursday that its guidance could be changed or suspended because of the evolving nature of the pandemic.

“While these guidelines provide a strong foundation for how to safely play fall sports in Maine, we recognize that ultimately the final decision on sports will be made by local school districts based on their capacity for implementing the health and safety guidelines as applied to school sports – a decision and process that we wholeheartedly respect," said Mike Burnham, executive director of the Maine Principals’ Association, in a statement.

Maine is among dozens of states modifying sports plans this fall due to the pandemic. Some schools in the state have already announced they are canceling fall sports completely.

It's important to remember that not all sports carry the same level of risk, said Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention director Nirav Shah. For example, it's possible to host sports such as golf and cross country in ways that observe social distancing, he said.

“The safety of any particular activity depends on the nature of the activity and the circumstances in which it’s being done,” he said.

In other news related to the pandemic in Maine:

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NEW CASES

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that the number of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in the state increased by 26.

The number of people who have tested positive in Maine stands at 4,760 while the number of patients who have died in Maine is 134, the Maine CDC reported.

The seven-day average for new cases per day was about 31, which was 20 less than it was a week ago.

Shah said the positivity rate in York County was about four times the state average, which is about 0.55%. York County has been home to several outbreaks of the virus, including an outbreak at a jail that is linked to a larger wedding reception outbreak in northern Maine.

The COVID-19 illness results in mild or moderate symptoms in most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or those with existing health problems.

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FERRY GRANT

A ferry system that serves communities in southern Maine is set to receive nearly $2 million in federal funding to keep operating amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration is providing the funding to Casco Bay Island Transit District. The money is intended to keep the district's “ferries, facility and equipment in service and in good working condition” during the pandemic, Republican Sen. Susan Collins said in a statement.

The Casco Bay district was also previously awarded $2.6 million in federal CARES Act funding. Collins said the funding “will help ensure that Casco Bay Lines continues to provide safe and reliable ferry services to passengers during this ongoing economic and public health crisis.”

The ferry service has been around for nearly 40 years and provides service to six islands in Casco Bay. It typically transports more than a million passengers a year.

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Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

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