The Ches-Mont League on Friday became the latest league in Southeastern Pennsylvania to shut down fall sports because of COVID-19 concerns.
In a statement, the league said it was making the decision based on recommendations from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Chester County Health Department and the Governor’s office.
“Based upon the current health and safety recommendations, the Ches-Mont has voted to postpone fall sports competition at this time,” league officials said.
The league, which includes all three West Chester high schools as well as Downingtown East and Downingtown West, and Coatesville High School, said it would “explore alternative solutions” that would allow fall athletes to compete in their chosen sport, perhaps late this fall or after the new year.
Coatesville football coach Matt Ortega said it was possible the league could still stage the sport this fall, with games starting in the middle of October and running through Thanksgiving, provided the Chester County Health Department offers updated guidance allowing for competition.
“There’s a glimmer of hope,” said Ortega, whose team has won three of the last four Ches-Mont National Division titles as well as two PIAA District 1 Class 6 crowns in the last three seasons. “We might still be able to play in October, and if not we still have the spring option.”
The Ches-Mont news comes on the same day that the Central League also postponed fall sports, while the Suburban One League voted to continue with plans to stage interscholastic competition in football, soccer, field hockey, cross-country and other athletic activities.
“The Ches-Mont has requested that the PIAA District One Committee explore and propose alternative solutions that will allow our fall student athletes to compete at a later date,” the league said. “In addition, the Ches-Mont will create and present alternative solutions to the PIAA District One Committee.”
The Ches-Mont’s decision moves the league into the same camp with most of the Philadelphia Catholic League as well as the Philadelphia Public League, Inter-Ac Central League, Central League, Del Val League, and Friends Schools League, all of which in recent days have postponed fall sports.
The league is encouraging all schools to continue with voluntary workouts, per each district’s health and safety guidelines.
In addition, the league said it would continue to monitor the Chester County Health Department’s recommendations.