Out-of-season high school practice will be allowed to begin today.
The decision announced Thursday by the Virginia High School League was made in alignment with the governor’s “Virginia’s Return to School Plan” released Tuesday.
The VHSL executive committee voted on Wednesday to reinstate the out-of-season practice rule and it passed with a majority vote. The committee also voted to suspend the summer “dead period” for all athletic teams during the week of June 29 through July 4. This is only for 2020.
VHSL officials said it was important to note that before any out-of-season activity can begin, all schools must submit health plans to the Virginia Department of Education outlining compliance with Virginia Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mitigation strategies.
“The VHSL Executive Committee believes that getting students back into some level of education-based activities will be supportive of their physical and mental health and well-being,” VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun said. “Allowing students and coaches the opportunity to being out-of-season extracurricular activities and athletics will allow school communities the ability to being moving in a positive direction.”
The VHSL sports medicine advisory committee is in the process of completing the “VHSL Guidelines for Reopening Sports/Activities” plan that is in alignment with Gov. Ralph Northam’s “Return to School” plan.
“Our student-athletes have been out for over three months. Conditioning and acclimation will be critical as coaches and athletes prepare for the upcoming fall season,” Haun said.
Halifax County High School athletic director Allen Lawter and principal Michael Lewis will begin working on the health plans that must be sent to the state before practices can begin.
With the news coming out late Thursday with no warning that it was coming, and schools being closed on Friday, Lawter said that he and Lewis had made plans to begin working on the plans today, and when those are completed and approved they will begin the next steps to be able to start the out-of-season practices.
Any decisions moving forward will be made in compliance with the governor’s orders.