Governor Ralph Northam signed an amended Executive Order that will let high school sports play
by Andy Hilton, recruit757
The VHSL announced on Friday morning that High School sports will indeed start in December with winter sports.
In addition to the announcement related to Governor Ralph Northam signing the fourth amended Executive Order 67, the VHSL has release its “Guidelines for Return to Participation” for school divisions.
Teams will be able to continue out-of season workouts that abide by Phase 3 guidelines established by the VHSL, the VDH, numerous national sports associations and VHSL administrators and advisory committees.
“Keeping our student athletes safe is critical during this pandemic,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “I know I join many parents in looking forward to the safe return of school sports. VHSL has been a tremendous partner throughout the COVID crisis, and I appreciate the thoughtfulness and diligence they have put in development of these guidelines for returning to play.”
In a corresponding statement, VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun applauded the move.
“This amendment by the Governor clears the way for all of our sports to play,” said Haun. “We appreciate the time, effort, and input staff received while preparing this document. Adherence to these guidelines will offer a safe reopening for our students, coaches, staff, officials, and communities once we start playing in December. Additionally, we appreciate the close collaboration and guidance from the Governor’s office, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).”
The amended Executive Order did not change the number of attendees permitted at a sporting event, which cannot exceed the lesser of 50% of the occupancy load or 250 persons. For sports played on a field, attendees are limited to 250 persons per field.
The modifications outlined in “Guidelines for Return to Participation” are meant to decrease potential exposure to respiratory droplets by encouraging social distancing, limiting participation in administrative tasks to essential personnel and allowing for appropriate protective equipment. Recommendations include cleaning and disinfecting; mask protocols; transportation; and how to run activities safely for individual sports and activities.
– Andy Hilton