COVID-19 delays school sports

Published 12:33 pm Thursday, March 19, 2020

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The Virginia High School League (VHSL) will delay the spring sports season for two weeks in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, according to a Friday, March 13, announcement from VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun.

This impacts Central High School.

“After continuing to assess the impact of COVID-19, we convened the VHSL Crisis Management Committee, and it was decided that the best course of action and most prudent at this time was to delay spring sports first play date by two weeks,” Haun said in the announcement. “The VHSL continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 and will continue discussions with public health officials and key stakeholders.”

The announcement stated the first play date for spring sports will now be Monday, March 30. It originally was Monday, March 16.

Also Friday, March 13, Virginia Gov. Ralph S. Northam ordered all K-12 schools in Virginia to close for a minimum of two weeks.

This includes private schools, like Kenston Forest School, which will be closed Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 27.

“Kenston Forest Athletics has suspended/postponed all athletic activities during the school closure,” Kenston Forest Athletics Director Joe Maione stated. “We will revisit athletics as soon as we return from the state-mandated closure of school. At this time all athletic events are canceled, including practices, and our athletic facilities are all closed to use by any groups or individuals.”

He added that during the closure, the school is deep cleaning/ disinfecting all athletic areas, equipment and the school’s transportation fleet.

The VHSL outdoor track championships, tennis championships and the VHSL Spring Jubilee are not affected by the two-week delay, and all championships are still scheduled on their original dates, officials said in the VHSL announcement. The Crisis Management Committee will meet again Wednesday, March 25, to re-evaluate current conditions.

While the VHSL’s Friday announcement stated local school divisions would have the authority to schedule spring practices, this changed Saturday, March 14, as noted in Haun’s blog.

“On Saturday morning, Dr. James Lane, superintendent of public instruction for Virginia, provided clarification to school superintendents that during the two weeks that Virginia’s public schools are closed, all school-sponsored activities, including athletics and practices, are not allowed,” Haun wrote.

The Friday announcement concluded by noting that any game not played due to this delay, or a school division not being allowed to travel, will not count as a forfeit.