Virginia High School League says sports set to start in December

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FILE – A student athlete runs a drill during a strength and conditioning camp at Arlington Martin High School Thursday, June 18, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. Texas will play high school football this fall, but some of it will be delayed, fans will be limited and masks will be required as the state fights a surge in new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and fatalities. The University Interscholastic League on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 released its guidelines for Texas public high school fall sports, pushing back the start of the football and volleyball seasons for the largest schools by one month into late September and extending the football championships for those schools into January. (AP Photo/LM Otero, file)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WAVY) – On Friday, VHSL staff released guidelines for the return of recreational sports amid the coronavirus pandemic — and high school sports are on track to start in December.

The announcement comes following Gov. Ralph Northam’s fourth amended Executive Order 67, which includes changes to Section 12 related to recreational sports. 

In a news release, the Virginia High School League said the changes allow the VHSL Championship + 1 schedule to begin playing in December as scheduled.

“Keeping our student-athletes safe is critical during this pandemic,” said 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.”

The amended executive order did not change the number of attendees permitted at a sporting event, the VHSL said.

Attendees of the sporting events cannot exceed 50% of the occupancy load or go over the 250-person limit.

The VSHL said the guidelines are meant to decrease potential exposure to COVID-19 by encouraging social distancing, limiting participation in administrative tasks to essential personnel, and allowing for appropriate protective equipment.

In addition, there are recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting, mask protocols, transportation, and how to run activities safely for individual sports and activities.

VHSL staff said they received input from VHSL and NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committees, the NCAA, the Virginia Department of Health, and multiple national sports advisory committees.

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