Virginia High School Sports Going With Condensed Seasons

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Virginia High School Sports Going With Condensed Seasons

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Virginia High School League announced on Monday morning that it will adopt a condensed-season approach for the 2020-21 school year, with winter sports held first and running from December 14-February 20. Fall sports will follow (February 15-May 1), and spring sports will be conducted from April 12-June 26. Swimming is a winter sport in Virginia, which means it will have a two-month season.

The choice made by the VHSL was the third of three models presented to the Executive Committee and prevailed by a 34-1 vote. The first model called for all sports to remain in their regular seasons, but canceled high-risk sports football, field hockey, volleyball and cheerleading. The second model had fall and spring sports rotating seasons, but lacrosse would have been canceled.

The route traveled by the VHSL allows all sports to be played, albeit through a shortened season that will see schedules reduced to about 60% of the typical amount of competitions. How postseason tournaments and competitions will be handled remains to be seen. Of course, any sports being held hinges on what unfolds with COVID-19, which has seen spikes in several parts of the country.

“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.”

States around the country have opted for a variety of plans amid COVID-19. Some have canceled the fall season while others have taken the same approach as Virginia. A handful of states have choses to move forward with fall sports despite the existing pandemic.

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