Local student-athletes test positive for COVID-19. Will high school sports be impacted?

Coronavirus

(WFXR) — More than 20 students with Rockbridge County Public Schools are under mandatory quarantine after two student-athletes and another student tested positive for coronavirus. Additionally, the Virginia High School League (VHSL) says student-athletes within the Alleghany County Public Schools system recently tested positive for COVID-19. It is currently unclear which sports the infected athletes play.

Many are wondering if fall high school sports will be impacted as COVID-19 numbers keep rising.

Northside High School football coach Scott Fisher knows all too well the impact the virus can have on sporting events. Last year, his team played just four games against three opponents after being benched several times during the season due to COVID-19 exposures.

“We got hit with it twice last year. We were down for two and a half weeks at one point and then came back and had to go back down for another two weeks. So it’s very difficult,” Fisher said.

The VHSL says, as of now, school athletics in the Commonwealth will play the regular number of games, and each school can implement its own COVID-19 rules. However, that could change based on mandates and recommendations.

According to VHSL Executive Director Dr. John “Billy” Haun, “We started practice on normal days. We’re scheduled to play the regular number of regular season games. We’re planning on playing playoffs just like we would on a normal year.”

Haun added, “We’ll follow whatever comes from the governor’s office and what comes from the Virginia Department of Health.”

Fisher, whose team is among those having summer practice, says the decision ultimately starts from the very top.

“It starts with our governor,” Fisher said. “Then it would go down to the Virginia High School League…then the Roanoke County Schools…and then it would go into our athletic department…then our principal…and then our school nurse.”

WFXR News has reached out to Gov. Ralph Northam’s office several times to inquire about statewide coronavirus restrictions. The governor’s office has not yet released a comment.

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