VHSL Executive Director addresses upcoming winter sports season

Dr. Haun says individual districts have the final say

Charlottesville, VA. – With Covid cases spiking around the nation and the Commonwealth, it’s on everybody’s mind. 10 Sports Brooke Leonard talked with VHSL executive director Dr. Billy Haun, about the likelihood of playing next month. Winter sports are set to ramp up in December in the state of Virginia. Basketball practice opens on December 7th. Other winter sports can begin practice on December 14, with basketball beginning play in the 21st and other winter competitions beginning on the 28th.

Dr. Haun said that the VHSL’s guidelines serve as a way to help schools be prepared to play, but ultimately - just like the decision for schools to open up this year, it all comes down to the school districts allowing their teams to get started.

“It’s whatever fits that school’s community, and that school system, and that local health department and what’s going on health-wise. Everyone has the autonomy to sort of decide what’s best for them and what fits them. People are very passionate about their sports, they love their sports, they want to play, it is a part of the education process. Sometimes it just gets frustrating, it’s been a long eight months,” Haun explained.

The VHSl further clarified the gathers restriction announced last week, and how it applies to VHSL competition.

The reduction in public and private gatherings to 25 individuals applies to “spectators” and does not include participants at those events. The Governor’s order defines “participants” as players, coaches, officials, school event staff and school administration critical to the operations of the contests, media, law enforcement, and medical services. Cheerleaders, pep bands, etc., and other student support groups, are counted as spectators in the limit of 25 allowed at events.

According to Amended Executive Order 67 guidelines for recreational sports (page 10) which emphasizes that sports activities are permitted but must comply with the following requirements:

a. The total number of spectators cannot exceed the lesser of 30% of the occupancy load of the certificate of occupancy for the venue, if applicable, or 25 spectators per field. Races or marathons may have up to 250 participants, provided staggered starts separate runners into groups of 25 or less.

b. Conduct screening of coaches, officials, staff, and players for COVID-19 symptoms prior to admission to the venue/facility.

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