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VHSL delays spring sports season by 2 weeks; academic championships change due to coronavirus

VHSL
Posted at 3:35 PM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-14 13:24:52-04

Charlottesville, Va. – Due to the rapidly changing landscape regarding COVID-19 and in an effort to support VHSL member schools and school divisions the VHSL Crisis Management Committee met and decided the spring sports season be delayed for two weeks with the first play date now scheduled for March 30 announced VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun. The original spring sports first play date was scheduled for Monday, March 16. The Outdoor Track championships, Tennis Championships, and the VHSL Spring Jubilee are not affected by this delay and all championships are still scheduled on their original dates. The Crisis Management Committee will meet again Wednesday, March 25 to re-evaluate current conditions.

“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," VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun said. "“ The VHSL continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 and will continue discussions with public health officials and key stakeholders.”

During this 2-week delay to the start of the spring sports season local school divisions will have the authority to schedule spring practices. Any game not played due to this delay, or a school division not being allowed to travel, will not count as a forfeit.

Haun released the following statement on the delay:

"The last two days in Virginia have moved very quickly. As the COVID-19 situation has changed hourly throughout the world, country and Commonwealth, our national and state leaders have reacted and made decisions in reaction to the situation. On Thursday, Governor Northam declared a State of Emergency for Virginia. On Friday afternoon, Governor Northam ordered all Virginia K-12 schools closed for a minimum of two weeks and President Trump declared a National Emergency as the pandemic grows.

"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. Yesterday, the VHSL Crisis Management Committee’s decision made a decision to delay the beginning of the spring sport season two weeks.

"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. 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.

"At this point, the entire Spring sport 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. 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 sport season.

"Please be patient and supportive of our leaders as our country and Commonwealth navigate our way through this very difficult situation.

"Thank you."

In addition, the Crisis Management Committee discussed VHSL academic activities championships and the impact of the coronavirus response.

Forensics – Forensics Championships will be postponed to Saturday, May 2 at Clover Hill High School.

Schools must confirm entries to Sharon Condoulis (scondoulis@vhsl.org) by Friday, April 10 at noon. Alternates must also be confirmed by this date in case there are call-ups. Hotel rooms for March 27-28 may be released, and new hotel information will be posted on the VHSL Forensics website by Wednesday, March 18.

Debate – Currently, the State Debate Championships are planned to be held at Randolph-Macon College on Friday and Saturday, April 24-25. Regions and Super Regions are encouraged to postpone their scheduled events, beyond published deadlines, to allow schools that had indicated they would not be able to participate, to now reconsider that based on new dates if possible. Legislation deadlines for both Region and Super Region will be extended to April 16 until we are notified of a new date selected by the Region or Super Region. A postponement of the State event will be reevaluated as new information becomes available in the next two weeks.

Film Festival – Due to school closings, the deadline for Film submission will be extended to 11:59pm, Wednesday, April 8. Finalists will be announced on Friday, May 8.

Student Leaders Conference – Currently is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 24-25. A final decision on holding the Student Leaders Conference will be made by Wednesday, March 25.

Robotics Deadline – The deadline for submission of Robotics portfolios will remain 11:59pm, Thursday, April 30.