CHARLOTTESVILLE — Franklin County High School and Benjamin Franklin Middle School spring sports teams will not be permitted to practice during their two-week, state-mandated hiatus in response to the coronavirus pandemic, officials with the Virginia High School League (VHSL) said in a prepared statement released to the media Saturday.
Earlier, the VHSL delayed the start of the spring high school sports season from Monday (March 16) to Monday, March 30, but no decisions had been made about practices during the two-week period.
Saturday, Dr. James Lane, superintendent of Public Instruction for Virginia, informed school superintendents that during the two-week break, “all school-sponsored activities, including athletics and practices, are not allowed, the VHSL said in the statement.
Also not permitted are open gyms and weight training.
Last Thursday, Governor Ralph Northam declared a State of Emergency in Virginia, and on Friday, he ordered the closing of all Virginia K-12 schools for two weeks. Also on Friday, President Donald Trump declared a National Emergency in response to the pandemic.
“While some stakeholders in Virginia will be unhappy with the decision to not allow athletic practices, we need to support our Governor and State Superintendent,’’ VHSL Executive Director John W. “Billy’’ Haun said in the statement. “These actions were taken to protect Virginians, keep them safe and healthy and to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“In perspective, we are looking at the overall health of the Commonwealth versus two weeks out of our high-school athletic season,’’ Haun said.
“At this point, the entire spring sports season has not been cancelled. Everyone clearly understands the dedication and commitment thousands of parents, coaches and student-athletes have made preparing for this season,’’ Haun said.
“I am sure college and professional athletes feel the same way as their seasons have been suspended or cancelled. In two weeks, state leaders will evaluate the situation and provide direction for our schools — including the spring sports season,’’ Haun said.
“Please be patient and supportive of our leaders as our country and Commonwealth navigate our way through this very difficult situation,’’ Haun said.