CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - As long as Virginia remains under Phase 3 guidelines of the Governor's reopening plan due to COVID-19, public high school sports are sidelined in Virginia through at least December.
In a special session Monday morning, the Executive Committee of the Virginia High School League (VHSL) voted to delay all VHSL sports and adopt a plan featuring condensed seasons. The proposal adopted Monday, by a vote of 34-to-1, was one of three models from which the VHSL Executive Committee chose. The three models were announced during a July 15th special session.
The new schedule is as follows:
Season 1 spans December 14 – February 20 (First Contest Date: December 28, 2020) and features winter sports: basketball, gymnastics, indoor track, swim and dive & wrestling
Season 2 spans February 15 – May 1 (First Contest Date: March 1, 2021) for fall sports: football, volleyball, golf, competition cheer, sideline cheer, cross country & field hockey
Season 3 spans April 12 – June 26 (First Contest Date: April 26, 2021) for spring sports: baseball, lacrosse, outdoor track, soccer, softball & tennis
The approved VHSL model is based on Virginia being in Phase 3 of its reopening, its current position. Should Virginia move ahead into Phase 4 or move back into Phase 2, the dates of the seasons could be impacted.
Under Virginia's current Phase 3 guidelines, gatherings are limited to 250 people - including participants and individuals working the event. "Normal doesn't exist," VHSL Director Dr. John W. "Billy" Haun said of the Commonwealth's current situation.
The end dates listed above are the latest-potential final contest dates, including any potential postseason events, for that sport's season. Mike Sipe, a member of the VHSL Executive Committee, requested the postseason format be clarified by the end of August. The Executive Committee plans to address postseason formats on August 24th.
High school teams are currently allowed to gather for conditioning and out-of-season workouts.
“We all understand the physical and mental health benefits of getting our students back to a level of participation. The Condensed Interscholastic Plan Leaves open the opportunity to play all sports in all three seasons if Virginia moves beyond Phase III and/or Phase III guidelines are revised and High Risk Activities are allowed,” Dr. Haun said. “This plan also allows schools the opportunity to open the year and get school started and deal with issues such as schedules, academic plans, transportation, dealing with possible outbreaks of COVID in the school.
“The VHSL will continue to work closely with the best available information and directives provided by the Governor, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).” Haun said.
Academic activities, with the exception of Class 1-4 theater, all take place under the newly-adopted window - so they are not expected to be impacted.
Last week, the VISAA - Virginia's largest private school association, announced it would not sponsor any championships for fall sports. However, individual schools and conferences are permitted to make individual decisions to compete in fall sports.