Officials from several area school districts continued to scramble yesterday to determine how to complete their fall schedules in the wake of the sniper shooting in Ashland, Va., on Saturday.

Athletics officials in Montgomery County delayed the start of boys' and girls' soccer playoffs this week after the county canceled all outdoor activities for today.

Thursday's field hockey games have been postponed until next week as the county searches for alternative sites. Soccer will not be played until next Tuesday. Officials have not made a decision on when to resume football games at six proposed sites.

Area officials were forced to make scheduling changes just two days after Fairfax and Loudoun counties, the city of Manassas and the District managed to play football and field hockey games at undisclosed sites over the weekend. However, Fairfax did cancel 10 field hockey games scheduled for this past Sunday.

"We're trying to buy a little bit of time," said Ned Sparks, executive director of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association. "Hopefully we can get those people back to playing and get their legs underneath them and make it as fair as we can. [Montgomery County] might not play at all, but we're trying to deal with unusual circumstances."

Officials from the District and Montgomery, Prince George's and Fairfax counties will meet today in an effort to develop a plan to stage football games again this week at alternative sites. The District and Fairfax County will consider ways to resume their cross-country and soccer programs that have been idle since Oct. 5.

Prince George's County yesterday played its scheduled soccer and volleyball matches -- the county's first athletic competitions since Oct. 5. The soccer games were all played at one undisclosed location, while 10 volleyball games were played in a doubleheader format at five sites. "The reason we're not telling anyone where the games are other than schools is because we don't want to do anything that might compromise the safety of the players and the coaches," said Earl Hawkins, the county's supervisor of athletics. Prince William County athletics teams, which have not practiced inside or outside since Oct. 9, yesterday were given clearance to resume indoor practices today.

In addition, Prince William principals met yesterday afternoon and have forwarded a proposal to Superintendent Edward L. Kelly that would enable football teams to return to action this weekend at sites yet to be determined. Kelly is expected to decide today whether to allow the games to be played.

Woodbridge activities director Greg Margheim said that competition would resume with football games originally scheduled for Oct. 12. It also is possible that Cardinal and Cedar Run district teams will not make up the non-district games that had been scheduled for Oct. 18 and instead play a nine-game regular season.

Staff writers Preston Williams, Jon Gallo and Heather A.Dinich contributed to this report.