CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Chesapeake Public Schools plans to move forward with some fall sports — but not all.
During a meeting Monday night, the Chesapeake School Board voted 8-1 to proceed with fall high school varsity sports, but will cancel junior varsity sports for now.
Board member Christie New Craig was the lone opposing vote, saying she’d like to see the return of sports for everyone.
The board made the decision based on a recommendation by Superintendent Dr. Jared Cotton. After consulting with the School Health Advisory Board, he said since almost all fall sports will be held outdoors — except volleyball — officials feel confident they can implement the recommended mitigation measures effectively.
“We’re prioritizing. For varsity students, this is their last opportunity to participate in sports and it has ramifications beyond high school,” he said.
Cotton said as the spring season approaches, they will provide an update on the status of sports for middle school students.
Conditioning for varsity football and competition cheer will begin Jan. 28 and practice will start Feb. 4.
Conditioning will start Feb. 1 and practice on Feb. 15 for cross-country, field hockey, volleyball and golf.
The Virginia High School League had previously rescheduled the 2020-2021 fall sports season to run from Feb. 15 through April 30.
At a meeting last week, the CPS School Health Advisory Board said it supports returning to sports and activities with steps in place. Instead of COVID-19 testing, the health advisory board emphasized the need for on-site screening before games, practices and competitions.
Some speakers Monday night pleaded with the board to bring sports back for students’ mental health and well-being.
However, others who addressed the board said they don’t feel the well-being of teachers is being considered the same way.
“While many may pat you on the back for being the only local district with bodies in the chairs, you are overlooking the long-term damage that is being done to CPS,” one speaker said, in reference to claims of teachers resigning due to COVID-19 concerns.
“Everyone on this school board cares about our staff. We may not agree every time and we can agree to disagree, but at the end of the day, I want our kids back in school and I’m not going to apologize for that,” said board member New Craig.
During the meeting, board members also said a net of 2,435 students have opted to move from totally virtual (option 2) to the blended schedule (option 1) for the second semester.
Cotton shared that 12,000 desk barriers were delivered to elementary schools last week as an added layer of protection.
As far as vaccinations, the school division continues to administer first doses to employees. The division was the first to begin giving the vaccine to its staff.
1,400 more doses will be administered this week. 1,400 employees received doses in the first round.
Stay with WAVY.com for more updates on this developing story. WAVY News 10’s Geena Arevalo will have the latest on FOX 43 at 10 p.m. and WAVY News 10 at 11 p.m.