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Discussions turn to resumption of sports at HCMS / December 17, 2020

The Halifax County School Board at Monday night’s meeting was called upon to put more thought and effort into the return of athletics at Halifax County Middle School.

The topic, originally not on the agenda, was added at the request of ED-8 trustee Walter Potts Jr. Potts as well as board chair Todd Moser said they had received several calls regarding the status of middle school sports.

When schools were closed and spring sports were brought to a halt in March, Halifax County High School’s administration and athletic department went to work on developing a plan to return student-athletes to their respective sports in a safe manner while still in the midst of COVID-19.

Returning middle school student-athletes to competition is important. But school divisions across Virginia have been primarily concerned with restarting high school athletics, especially varsity sports programs, to get seniors back on the fields and courts.

Superintendent of Schools Mark Lineburg addressed the questions. Lineburg acknowledged information surrounding the issue could have been better developed and disseminated.

“We have not done the best with middle school athletics,” Lineburg said, referencing keeping student-athletes and parents informed about a possible return to athletic activities.

Lineburg said bringing athletes back on campus was being done in phases. Varsity winter-sports programs returned to the school on Monday to resume practice and conditioning; jayvee and middle school sports would follow as determined.

HCMS Principal Dawn Miller as well as girls basketball and softball coach James Smith were at the meeting. Each said they were under the understanding that the school would be following the guidelines the high school was using as they returned to athletics.

Miller said the school had not put together a winter sports schedule as of yet. She said with a limited number of teams in the conference to compete against, delaying the start of the winter sports until January could be done without creating additional issues.

Potts said he felt the middle school could have been more transparent in its handling of the subject matter. He said parents were calling asking why middle school sports wouldn’t be happening this year.

Lineburg assured Potts sports had not yet been canceled at the middle school. He did add the idea had been discussed, as had several others.

“Have we talked about not having sports? Absolutely,” … “We have also tried to find ways to not have to say no,” Lineburg said.

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