Polytech to leave Henlopen Conference after 2020-21 school year

WOODSIDE — Polytech High announced on Tuesday night that it will be leaving the Henlopen Conference in all sports following the 2020-21 school year.

The announcement comes after Polytech forfeited the final two games of its football season because of a dwindling number of players during the course of the year. It lost several players due to injuries.

The Kent County vo-tech school left the conference before in football but returned. Leaving the Henlopen in just football was not believed to be an option this time.

A press release issued by the school said that Polytech’s board made the decision “based on concerns around the overall health and safety of its student-athletes and low participation rates across various athletic programs. Board members determined that a change was required to provide safer, better opportunities for all student-athletes.”

“While this was a difficult decision to make, the board believes that exiting the Henlopen North Athletic Conference and exploring a different approach is in the best interests of our students and families,” said W. Duane Hammond, President of the Board of Education was quoted in the release. “Our priority as a board is protecting the overall health and safety of our student athletes, while also providing long-term sustainability across all extracurricular programs. This decision is an important step toward that goal.”

Polytech is a member of the Henlopen Conference’s Northern Division, which includes the league’s largest schools, based on its enrollment.

According to the release, Polytech will put together a committee of coaches, student-athletes, staff, parents
and community members to provide recommendations for the school’s athletic future plans.

“Our district leadership team appreciates the Board of Education’s careful consideration of this issue, and we respect and support its decision,” Dr. Amelia Hodges, Superintendent was quoted. “Now, we will turn our attention to organizing a committee that is representative of our entire school community to usher in a new era of Polytech Athletics.”

The release said that Polytech will look into “collaborating with other districts and conferences statewide to minimize any impact this may have to their programs.”

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