Virginia Beach schools to hold varsity winter sports season amid rising COVID-19 numbers

Posted at 7:23 PM, Jan 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 10:09:47-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) has decided to hold a varsity winter sports season with tryouts beginning Wednesday.

VBCPS decision was made in accordance with the protocols and health mitigations published by the Virginia High School League (VHSL) in its 2020-2021 Guidelines for Return to Participation.

Tryouts are set to begin as soon as January 6.

On January 4 Virginia Beach reported over 300 new COVID-19 cases for the fourth time in five days.

In addition to VHSL's guidance, the VBCPS Office of Student Leadership says they have made several changes to their traditional sports program to minimize the chances of COVID-19 spread.

The following changes will be implemented:

  • Varsity team sizes in each winter sport will be limited and consistent for all schools
  • Spectators will not be permitted to attend contests due to the governor’s restriction on the size of gatherings. However, all games held in high school gymnasiums will be available to watch via internet livestream. Students, parents, staff, and community members may purchase a monthly or annual subscription to gain access to the games.
  • Junior varsity coaches will be asked to assist varsity coaches, thereby lowering the athlete-coach ratio and allowing for coaching in smaller groups.
  • Practices may begin as early as Wednesday, Jan. 6. Regular season schedules will be revised and released shortly to accommodate a more condensed season.
  • Individual health screenings, conducted by the certified athletic trainer (ATC), are required for all coaches and athletes before entering school facility for practice, games, treatment, etc. Documentation of all such checks must be kept with the ACT and/or student activities coordinator and are subject to administrative review.
  • Regular season contests will be scheduled against Beach District schools only and participation in invitational tournaments has been prohibited by the VHSL. Post-season contests may take place against non-Beach District teams based on VHSL postseason qualification requirements.
  • Beach District athletes MAY NOT participate on non-school teams during their season. Doing so places their teammates, coaches and other Beach teams in greater jeopardy of exposure. This policy is in place until further notice.
  • Any confirmed exposure of a member of the team will likely lead to quarantine and cancellation of practice, and it may lead to further cancellations due to the close physical proximity dictated by sports participation.
  • A positive COVID determination of an athlete or coach MUST be reported to OSL and may result in the restriction of participation of other athletes, the athlete’s team and other teams for a portion or remainder of the winter season.
  • Disregard for the school division’s outlined safety protocols may result in the termination of the season for violators, as determined by the OSL.
  • No games may be canceled without prior consent of the OSL.
  • Plans are underway to allow conditioning programs to resume for fall sports athletes in mid-January.