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High School League clarifies new statewide measures regarding school sports

VHSL has final approval for return to sports
VHSL has final approval for return to sports(WVIR)
Published: Dec. 10, 2020 at 8:13 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WDBJ/VHSL Release) - The Virginia High School League is clarifying the impact of updated statewide measures, and recommendations to contain COVID-19, on VHSL sports and activities, specifically guidelines for wearing facemasks and spectators attending athletic competitions.

Governor Northam issued new measures Thursday to help mitigate the rapid spread in Virginia of the coronavirus.

“With the support of the  Governor’s office and our VHSL Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC), the VHSL is requiring each school to follow the recommendations of the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP),” said VHSL Executive Director, Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun. “There are some sports in which the mask should not be worn, such as cheerleading, gymnastics, wrestling and swim and dive.”

In addition, the VHSL will comply with Executive Order 72 capacity limits:

  • For sports played indoors, spectators must be limited to 25 persons per field (indoor courts). For sports played outdoors, spectators are limited to two guests per player. The total number of spectators cannot exceed 30 percent of the occupancy load of the certificate of occupancy for the venue.

In a release, VHSL said, “During times of substantial COVID-19 activity VDH strongly advises athletes to wear masks at all times during group training, competition, and on the sidelines. There is strong evidence to show that mask use prevents the spread of COVID-19.  We also know that participating in sports has both physical and psychological health benefits. Risks from the virus can be decreased if athletes, coaches, officials, and spectators follow public health guidelines.”

Additionally, if wearing a mask makes participation in sports difficult, it is advisable not to participate in sports at this time, said the league.

Click here for VDH recommendations for recreational sports.

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