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VHSL releases Phase 3 guidelines / August 03, 2020

On the heels of making the announcement that schools can begin the process to start competition of winter sports in December, the Virginia High School League issued Phase 3 guidelines for member schools on Saturday.

“Working in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Education, the VHSL Sports Medicine Advisory Committee has developed a list of Phase III recommended guidelines for school divisions as they prepare for the safe reopening of high school sports and activities.”

While Phase 3 guidelines also present its share of challenges, one of the biggest steps forward is players especially of high-risk sports can now conduct somewhat normal workouts and practices. Sports classified as high-risk are basketball, field hockey, football, boys and girls lacrosse, cheer, wrestling, and volleyball.

In Phase 2 the sharing of any equipment was prohibited. The new guidelines do provide some relief.

In Phase 2 guidelines – for basketball - practices were regulated to, “Conditioning, individual ball skill drills, no contact or sharing of balls. A player may shoot with a ball(s), but a team should not practice/pass a basketball among the team where multiple players touch the same ball.”

In contrast the new guidelines for basketball state, “Conditioning, individual or team based skill development allowed. All player and team equipment should be disinfected frequently before, during, and after practices.”

Still safety guidelines such as daily pre-workout screenings, regular cleaning of equipment, and 10 feet distancing and group limitations cannot exceed the lesser of 50 percent of the occupancy load of the venue or 250 persons with no spectators allowed during practices.

HCHS athletics director, Allen Lawter said last week once the VHSL released its Phase 3 guidelines, he would be looking to hopefully return some student-athletes to conditioning programs starting this month – barring any delays related to COVID-19.

The VHSL also issued its latest proposed realignments of schools beginning with the 2021-22 through the 2022-23 school years. Though several schools requested moves no schools in the Piedmont District were affected.

Halifax was part of the league’s realignment plan last year when the Comets moved from a Class 5 to Class 4.

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