VHSL releases guidelines for the return of high school sports

Sports

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — On Friday, the Virginia High School League (VHSL) released a list of guidelines for the return of high school sports and activities.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH), working in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Education (DOE) and the VHSL Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) released guidelines specific for each sport to help schools better prepare as the Commonwealth enters Phase II.

“These VHSL guidelines are recommended for use as school divisions develop their own specific requirements for the Phase II COVID Mitigation Health Plans for Public Schools. SMAC worked closely with VDH to ensure that these recommended guidelines will offer guidance to local school divisions and superintendents reopening plans. Our SMAC committee of leading health experts has put together an invaluable tool to assist our school divisions in developing those plans.”

DR. JOHN W. “BILLY” HAUN, VHSL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The guidelines detail the precautions for each phase of Virginia’s reopening plan, with Phase III still to be determined. Sports are categorized by the risk the activity poses to participants.

Indoor events may occur if at least 10 feet of physical distance can be maintained by all participants, and the total number of attendees cannot exceed 30 percent of the room occupancy or no more than 50 people.

Outdoor events are allowed if at least 10 feet of physical distance can be maintained by all attendees, and the venue does not exceed over 50 percent occupancy or 50 people. No spectators allowed for indoor or outdoor events.

Workouts will also be conducted in “pods” of students and coaches. Each pod will consist of the same 5 to 10 people, and smaller pods will be used for weight training.

Additionally, VHSL says sports facilities and the cleaning of equipment must adhere to VDH’s sanitation guidelines. Changes to locker rooms and weight rooms will also occur.

In regard to atheletic trainers, the guidelines say these positions will be at risk during the budgeting process and that trainers will be considered a “luxury.”

Participating coaches and students should expect daily health screenings and for facial masks, the guidelines state:

“Cloth face coverings should be considered acceptable. There is no need to require or recommend ‘medical-grade’ masks for physical activity. All students should wear face coverings when physical distancing is not possible.”


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