VHSL developing plans for reopening of fall athletics and activities

The first day of practices for football and golf for the fall 2020 season is scheduled for July 30. The Virginia High School League says practice will only happen in compliance with Gov. Ralph Northam’s directives and it is devising plans on when and how sports will return.

CHARLOTTESVILLE — The Virginia High School League (VHSL) is developing plans for the reopening of fall athletics and activities, the league announced Tuesday.

The VHSL said in a release that 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.

The VHSL is working to ensure 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 “by putting the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes, student-activity participants, coaches, administrators, officials and supporters first,” the release said.

The first day of the practices for football and golf for the fall 2020 season is scheduled for July 30. The golf season will begin competition on August 3. The first day of practices for volleyball for the fall is scheduled for August 3, with games beginning on August 24. The first football games are scheduled for August 28.

The VHSL previously canceled all high school spring sports competition due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The VHSL said league staff members are meeting regularly with region superintendents, principals, athletic directors, and the VHSL Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, and will begin meeting with Coach Advisory Committees of fall sports to discuss developing reopening plans. The league is taking input on how and when to allow sports to return.

“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 release read.

“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,” VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun said in the release.

“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.’’ Hahn said.

The VHSL works closely with other states in developing guidelines for the reopening of sports, and also monitors 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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