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The VHSL Releases FAQ's about returning to Play

By Jim Harris, 07/22/20, 11:30AM EDT

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The Virginia High School League Executive Committee is meeting July 27th to come up with a plan to return to sports for the 2020-2021 school year. In preparation for it, they have released a FAQ for the community.

 

COVID – 19/Reopening Sports FAQ’s

 

  1. Some data suggests teenagers do not have the same COVID-19 infection/transmission rates or mortality rates as adults so why not let them play in their regular seasons?

To participate in contests VHSL member schools will face many issues, the following are a few of the concerns:

 

  • Vulnerability to Coaches and Officials, both integral parts of the process and who are in the higher vulnerability category.
  • Students potentially infecting members of their immediate family by contracting or carrying COVID asymptomatically.
  • School system’s ability to transport athletes to the events.
  • In A/B scheduling getting students to school to participate on the days they may not be able to attend.
  • The CDC has established that individuals of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk.

 

  1. Why can’t we allow parents to sign waivers of liability?

While this is often a consideration in risk situations the recent legal history has found that adults, including parents, may not legally sign away liability regarding minors, including one’s own children.

 

  1. Why is volleyball in the high contact risk category and yet club volleyball is being played throughout Virginia and the U. S.?

Volleyball has been placed in the high contact risk category by using the third publication for “Developing Standards for Practice and Competition” produced by the NCAA Sports Science Institute. This has become a significantly important medically backed education-based resource which creates liability concerns for member schools in attempting to downgrade to the moderate level. The information was developed in consultation with the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) COVID-19 working group.

 

  1. Why is Field Hockey classified as a high contact risk sport and Soccer a moderate risk sport when both sports have close contact?

That has now changed. The NCAA document referenced in question 3 categorizes each sport has been updated and has now placed Soccer in the high-risk contact category with Field Hockey.

 

  1. Can Golf and Cross Country be played in the Fall using the Model 3 criteria?

This is an item that could be considered by the Executive Committee.

 

  1. If my child transfers to another state to compete in a traditional season sport and then returns to Virginia where that sport is being played later in the year will they be eligible to play that sport again this school year?

VHSL rules and regulation do not allow a student/athlete to play the same sport twice in the same school year so this option will not be available upon a student’s return from an out of state transfer.

 

  1. How many events would be contested in the Model 3 condensed season?

Schools would be allowed to play “approximately 60%” of their scheduled regular-season games, which would be six football games, 14 basketball games, 10 soccer games, etc.

 

  1.  Would spectators be allowed to attend games?

Still to be determined. VDH guidelines used by the VHSL currently limits gatherings at athletic events to 50% capacity with a maximum of 250, including the participants.

 

  1. Would there be state champions crowned in football?

No. Some health departments and school superintendents want to strictly limit outside travel for their students. The VHSL is advocating a postseason “bowl” scenario where every team could play an extra game against a regional or nearby opponent. The “bowl” scenario would allow a 50-50 split in gate receipts between the participating schools and the VHSL with the schools allowed to seek game sponsorships. It would be possible to play regional or sectional playoff games, citing a historical precedent during World War II era.

 

  1. Would there be state championships in other sports?

It could be possible for some team sports to hold a state quarterfinal, semifinal and championship game in the last week of each condensed season. State events in other sports would be under consideration.

 

  1. Would state championships/spring jubilees still be held at their scheduled sites?

It would depend on facility availability and which scheduling model the league adopts.