CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WFXR) – During a special meeting Wednesday morning, the Virginia High School League (VHSL) Executive Committee unanimously voted to meet later this month to choose between three proposals for resuming sports and activities in the upcoming year amid the coronavirus pandemic.
On Wednesday, July 15, officials say the committee also voted to delay the beginning of the fall sports season until they make a final decision on Monday, July 27. In addition, the committee decided to suspend the July-August dead period for 2020, which allows schools to continue out-of-season practice activities, according to Wednesday’s announcement.
“It’s important to remember that in all these models playing sports in the high risk category depends on being out of the current Phase III guidelines. All our efforts will continue towards advocating for the opening of sports and activities in a safe and reasonable way that will protect athletes, activity participants, coaches, officials, and the public,” said VHSL Executive Director, Dr. John W. ‘Billy’ Haun. “The VHSL will continue making judgments based on the best available information and directives provided by the Governor, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).”
Shannon Butler, VHSL executive committee chairwoman and principal at York High School, said, “The goal in all our discussions has been to provide our student-athletes and activity participants the best opportunity to return to the playing fields, courts, track, and stages during this school year in a safe environment as possible.”
“Our decision today will allow members of the executive committee to collaborate with the regions and groups that they represent to make a decision on July 27 that is in the best interest of our students; moving forward – our ultimate goal would be to have all of our student athletes the opportunity to safely represent their schools on the playing field during the 2020-2021 school year,” Butler continued.
Officials presented the following three models to the Executive Committee for the reopening of fall sports and activities:
Model 1: Leave all sports in the season where they are currently aligned, which would allow golf and cross country to proceed, but would prohibit field hockey, football, volleyball, and cheer. In addition, theatre would be permitted as a fall activity.
Model 2: Switch the fall and spring seasons, which would allow students to play track and field, tennis, soccer, baseball, and softball in the fall. In addition, spring activities that would be permitted are theatre, forensics/debate, and film festival. However, boys/girls lacrosse counts as a high risk sport and would not be played.
Model 3: Delay all VHSL sports and adopt the Condensed Interscholastic Plan, which would leave all sports in the season where they are currently aligned for 2020-2021:
- Winter season: Dec. 14 to Feb. 20, with the first contest date set for Dec. 28
- Fall season: Feb. 15 to May 1, with the first contest date set for March 1
- Spring season: April 12 to June 26, wit the first contest date set for April 26
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