VHSL Announces

Guidelines for Reopening Sports

With the start of classes less than two months away, there are still many questions concerning fall sports at the high-school level.

The Virginia High School League released guidelines on Friday for reopening sports and activities.

Working in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Department of Education (DOE), the VHSL Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) has developed a list of recommended guidelines for school divisions as they prepare for the safe reopening of high school sports and activities.

“These VHSL guidelines are recommended for use as school divisions develop their own specific requirements for the Phase II COVID Mitigation Health Plans for Public Schools,” said VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun. “SMAC worked closely with VDH to ensure that these recommended guidelines will offer guidance to local school divisions and superintendents reopening plans. Our SMAC committee of leading health experts has put together an invaluable tool to assist our school divisions in developing those plans.”

There is a lot to digest in the plan. As you can imagine, social distancing is a key aspect especially in Phase 2.

The full report can be accessed at this web address: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JUIDuUXrNxehGvLeVG_bDtUUfcZg1CXu/view

The VHSL listed four position statements in the release:

1. The VHSL believes it is essential to the physical and mental well-being of students to return to physical activity and athletic competition.

2. The VHSL recognizes that all Virginia students may be unable to return to – and sustain – athletic activity at the same time across the state. There will also likely be variation in what sports and activities are allowed over the next 9 to 12 months.

3. While recognizing that county-by-county reopening may lead to inequities, the VHSL advocates for returning students to school-based athletics and activities as directed by state and local guidelines.

4. Prior to allowing use of facilities, schools should review facility use agreements, especially in the areas of sanitation requirements and liabilities.

Mike Barmoy, Athletic Director at Park View HS, said there are still many questions.

He is hoping things will clear up after the VHSL executive committee meets on June 25.

“There are more questions than answers right now,” said Barmoy. “Hopefully in the next week or so we will have a better idea of what we are going to do.”

There are several proposals on the table including delaying all sports until after the first of the year or playing some sports as scheduled in the fall and delaying others until spring.

Stay tuned!