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VHSL working on reopening plans for fall athletics

Kevin Mays • May 19, 2020 at 4:59 PM

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The VHSL is taking the first steps for the reopening of high school sports in the fall, but when, how and if that will happen remain open-ended questions.

“To ensure all compliance with possible state directives from the governor, Virginia Department of Education, the Virginia Department of Health and the CDC with the reopening of schools for the fall of 2020, the Virginia High School League is developing plans for the reopening of fall athletics and activities by putting the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes, student-activity participants, coaches, administrators, officials and supporters first,” the VHSL said Tuesday in a release. “In all instances, reopening will only happen in accordance with the governor’s directives on when to return to school, when schools can return to practice, and when schools can return to competition.”

VHSL staff members are meeting regularly with region superintendents, principals, athletic directors and the VHSL Sports Medicine Advisory Committee.

Staff will begin meeting with the coach advisory committees for fall sports to discuss developing reopening plans, but the VHSL gave no timetable for those meetings. The league’s executive committee, however, is scheduled to meet June 25 to discuss fall sports proposals.

The VHSL is seeking input from the advisory committees as to when sports may return and how they should do it.

“The goal is to develop plans for multiple scenarios related to start dates, safety measures for resuming practices, regular season schedules and state playoffs for fall sports,” the VHSL said.

VHSL Executive Director Billy Haun, who serves on the VDOE Return to School Recovery Task Force, said many questions must be answered before any plan can be implemented.

“What we have been doing, and will continue to do, is to strongly advocate for our student-athletes for a reopening of fall sports and activities. We know much has been taken away from our students by the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to advocate for them and the return of high school athletics and activities,” Haun said. “It is important to say, and many already have, as we develop plans there are more questions than answers. Because of that, we cannot put a timeline on when decisions will be completed and announced to the public until many of those questions become answerable.

“We continue to fully support our governor’s directives, work with advisory groups, government agencies, other states and medical experts to come up with a safe and sound plan to implement sports and activities for the fall.”

The VHSL, a member of the National Federation of State High School Associations, said it is working closely with other states in developing guidelines for the reopening of sports, as well as monitoring NCAA reopening guidelines.

The VHSL Sports Medicine Advisory Committee will use the National Federation of State High School Association Sports Medicine Advisory Committee guidance for opening up high school athletics and activities to create guidelines for Virginia’s schools.

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