VHSL adopts condensed athletics schedule for 2020-21 school year

All sports will remain in their seasons and be played between the months of December and June
Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 7:56 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - UPDATE: The Virginia High School League voted Monday morning to adopt the third model for reopening sports and activities for the upcoming school year on a 34-1 vote.

The plan involves delaying all sports seasons to a condensed schedule, which would tentatively start December 14 for winter sports and end on June 26 with spring sports. The full tentative schedule for the third model can be found below.

“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,” said VHSL Executive Director Billy Haun in a release. “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 and 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).”

ORIGINAL STORY: The Virginia High School League will meet Monday morning to vote on three recommended models for reopening sports and activities for the 2020/2021 school year. Sports events have been off the schedule in recent months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Watch Monday’s 9 a.m. vote on WDBJ7′s Facebook page. You can also watch here.

The VHSL Executive Committee met in special session Wednesday, July 15 to discuss the fall sports season, and unanimously voted to meet Monday, July 27, to make a decision. The committee also voted to delay the beginning of fall sports until a final decision is made July 27, and suspended the July-August dead period for 2020, which means schools can continue out-of-season practice activities.

“It’s important to remember that in all these models, playing sports in the high risk category depends on being out of the current Phase III guidelines. All our efforts will continue towards advocating for the opening of sports and activities in a safe and reasonable way that will protect athletes, activity participants, coaches, officials, and the public,” said VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun. “The VHSL will continue making judgments based on the best available information and directives provided by the Governor, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).”

Shannon Butler, VHSL executive committee chairwoman and principal at York High School, said, “The goal in all our discussions has been to provide our student-athletes and activity participants the best opportunity to return to the playing fields, courts, track and stages during this school year in a safe environment as possible.”

She continued, “Our decision today will allow members of the executive committee to collaborate with the regions and groups that they represent to make a decision on July 27 that is in the best interest of our students; moving forward – our ultimate goal would be to have all of our student athletes the opportunity to safely represent their schools on the playing field during the 2020-2021 school year.”

The three models presented to the Executive Committee for the opening of sports/activities are as follows:

Model 1 – Leave all sports in current season. Low and moderate contact risks sports that would be allowed to play are golf and cross country. High risk sports that would not be played are field hockey, football, volleyball and cheer. Fall activities that would be allowed is theatre.

Model 2 – Switch Fall and Spring seasons. Low and moderate contact risk sports that would be allowed to play in the fall are track and field, tennis, soccer, baseball and softball. High risk sports that would not be played are boys/girls lacrosse. Spring activities that would be allowed are theatre, forensics/debate and film festival

Model 3 – Delay all VHSL sports and adopt the Condensed Interscholastic Plan. Leave all sports in the season where they are currently aligned.

  • Season 1 (Winter) December 14 – February 20 (First Contest Date – December 28)
  • Season 2 (Fall) February 15 – May 1 (First Contest Date – March 1)
  • Season 3 (Spring) April 12 – June 26 (First Contest Date – April 26)

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