The Virginia High School League has released three recommended models for how high school sports and other student activities could function this upcoming school year.
All three models leave certain sports on the sidelines that the league has classified as high-risk. However, the committee left one option open that presents the possibility to play football in the spring.
One guideline that set the standard for how student activities should operate during the pandemic was that all indoor and outdoor recreational sports should maintain 10 feet of physical distance between all coaches, participants and spectators.
- Model 1 – Leave all sports in the 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)
The committee defined lower-risk activities as swimming and diving, golf, gymnastics and tennis. Baseball, softball, cross country, track and field and soccer fall under moderate-risk sports, while football, basketball, volleyball, cheerleading, lacrosse and wrestling were categorized as high-risk activities.
The league is poised to vote on which recommended model is the best on July 27.
“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," said Shannon Butler, VHSL executive committee chairwoman and principal at York High School.
“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," Butler explained.