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Students, coaches plead for resumption of athletics / November 19, 2020
Halifax County High School student-athletes and coaches turned out Monday night to urge the Halifax County School Board to go forward with plans for the winter and fall sports seasons.

Addressing the board, Comet basketball player Kevon Ferrell spoke of the benefits that students derive from practicing together, and expressed the hope that through sports, he will receive an athletic scholarship he will need to pursue a college education.

The school board made no change in its intention to proceed with the winter and fall seasons, although workouts and conditioning sessions are temporarily suspended with the move to close down school facilities at least through Dec. 7.

The VHSL Championships + 1 calendar for the resumption of high school sports calls for the winter season to run from Dec. 14-Feb. 20, with the first games to be played Dec. 28. Winter sports include basketball, gymnastics, indoor track, swim/dive and wrestling.

The fall sports season was flipped in order to follow winter sports, with fall teams — cheerleading, cross country, field hockey, football, golf and volleyball — starting competition on Feb. 15 and continuing through May 1, with the first games played on March 1.

The spring sports season is set to run from April 12-June 26 with the first games played on April 26. Spring sports include baseball, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, and track and field.

On Monday night, HCHS Principal Michael Lewis presented a slideshow of how basketball games would be conducted with adequate safety measures. Teammates will no longer share a bench, instead they will have folding chairs on the side of the court while waiting for their turn on the court. When traveling to games, players will undergo temperature checks before getting on the bus, going and returning.

ED-8 trustee Walter Potts spoke directly to the coaches and players, telling them, “you all understand you have to adhere to the safety strategies while practicing and when you are out in the community.”

Board Vice Chair Sandra Garner-Coleman, taking part in the meeting via Zoom, cautioned the students that safety considerations will come first as the decision to hold the sports seasons draws closer.

“We need to focus on academics and getting 95 percent of our students online and on track, then sports will fall in line. Sports should be a secondary focus,” said Garner-Coleman.

It remains to be seen if sports can proceed as other school divisions opt not to field teams this fall and winter. Mecklenburg County Public Schools became the latest division to shelve athletics, with the county’s school board voting Monday to cancel the winter and fall seasons. Mecklenburg schools are still planning to field ball teams during the Championships + 1 spring season.

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