As football returns, districts take precautions

Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 4:02 AM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - At Bogle stadium, Friday night lights shined on a Monday as Cave Spring High School faced off against Pulaski. It looked almost normal: passes were thrown and caught, the band playing from the stands, cheerleaders on the sidelines.

But this isn’t your normal high school football game: note the masks, and the almost empty stands. There’s also the snow clinging to nearby Bent Mountain.

Monday’s game came after months of planning and tweaking by district officials. Play between school districts was only approved by Roanoke County last week. Students athletes already had to go through a health screening before every practice and every game. They also have to submit to a series of strict hygiene protocols, including frequent hand washing.

It’s a similar story in Roanoke City.

“All our football helmets, both at Patrick Henry and William Fleming, have face shields on them,” said Roanoke City’s Director of Athletics F. L. Slough.

Slough says the season has some advantages.

“We can social distance a bit more, we have a lot more space,” he said.

However, he concedes the weather presents some new challenges.

“With the rain and the temperature extremes, our coaches have done a good job giving them breaks, giving them food, keeping them warm,” he said.

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