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No action taken on fall season / June 29, 2020

For Virginia high schools looking to offer a fall sports season, that opportunity is fast coming to a point where yes or no decisions will have to be made.

The Virginia High School League has had all sports and academic activities that the organization sanctions on hold since mid-March. Since that time multiple communications and press releases showed the VHSL continually working on plans to safely allow the return of high school sports during a time of COVID-19.

The organization issued guidelines last week meant to assist member schools as they prepare their own plans to return student-athletes to conditioning, practice and competition. On Thursday the VHSL’s executive committee had a called meeting to discuss business items, among them - fall sports.

After the meeting, the VHSL announced for right now they didn’t take any direct action on the fall sports schedule.

VHSL Executive Director John W. “Billy” Haun, said the organization though not taking any action is still seeking a return to sports.

“All our efforts are working towards advocating for the opening of sports and activities in a safe and reasonable way,” he said. “As we move forward, it would not be reasonable to release at this time a fall schedule or calendar until we learn more about future phases.

“We are committed to getting this right and getting our students participating in activities,” he said. “I think we can make a much better informed decision once we have more parameters and possible restrictions.”

“With the Commonwealth currently in Phase II and moving to Phase III in the reopening process on July 1, VHSL staff did not bring forth any recommendations for fall athletic schedules. The VHSL Executive Committee did vote to hold additional meetings in July and August as more information becomes known,” the VHSL said in a statement.

In a Thursday interview with WSLS-10 (Roanoke), Haun said that multiple options are being look into. The VHSL was sharing models with other states as they too, look towards a return to sports.

The director noted a reduced number of games and schedule, could be a part of something new.

One of the models used as an example has the fall sports season flipping with winter sports and Season-One (Winter Sports) running Dec., 13-Jan., 20; Season-Two (Fall Sports), Feb. 15-May 1; and Season-Three ( Spring Sports) April 12-June 26. The interview pointed out this was only one model being looked at and in no ways a proposal.

Haun also said that travel ball teams returning to play could unintentionally give the impression that just because they are back on the diamond, it’s safe for schools to return to sports.

In Halifax County, Dixie softball is set to begin playing this week and Dixie baseball the following week – barring any last minute changes.

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