METHUEN, MASS. (WHDH) - Fall school sports that were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic officially began their seasons Monday with safety protocols in place.

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association voted last month to approve sport-specific modifications for its “Fall II” season, allowing cheerleading, football, indoor track, and unified basketball to run from Feb. 22 to April 25.

Cross country, dance, golf, field hockey, soccer, swim and dive, and volleyball were approved by the MIAA for the “Fall I” season, but some local districts may have decided to move them to the “Fall II” season.

Schools cleared snow off football fields over the weekend in preparation for the start of the season. It’s the first time some teams have practiced in 15 months, and players said they’re more than ready.

“We want to feel normal again,” said Alex Perez, football captain for Milton High School. “Going to play football or going to practice, no one’s dreading a second of it. We all just want to feel normal.”

In an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, athletes must wear masks, there will be no benches or locker rooms, and games will have fewer spectators.

Milton football coach Steve Dembowski said he hopes the new restrictions will keep students safe.

“We’re going to be safe and we’re going to keep the kids as socially distant as possible while still playing,” he said. “We’ll follow all the safety protocols and are hoping for the best.”

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