VHSL will not require masks to be worn in games and practices
The high school basketball season is scheduled to begin next week, but as opening day nears it appears unlikely teams will able to play due to the coronavirus pandemic. Under current rules for practice, teams are still social distancing and not allowed to share basketballs. That would make it impossible to play games.
Botetourt schools had four games scheduled for Monday, but all have already been postponed. The Lord Botetourt boys and girls were scheduled to play Salem, but those games have been moved to January 20 of 2021, with the girls at home and the boys in Salem. Next Tuesday’s boys game in Daleville against James River has been moved to February 3 and the girls’ game at Salem, originally on December 30, has been moved to January 23.
James River teams were scheduled to open with Glenvar next Monday but those games have been moved to January 28 with the girls at home and the boys at Glenvar.
Also, the Virginia High School League has clarified a previous announcement about wearing face coverings. On December 10, the VHSL announced that it “is requiring each school to follow the recommendations of the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)” that students and coaches wear masks while participating in sports. This requirement was issued in response to information that the Governor’s Requirement to Wear Face Coverings would include such a provision. However, EO 72 when issued stated that face coverings requirements “do not apply to … individuals exercising or using exercise equipment.”
“VHSL apologizes for any confusion created by its original release,” said VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun. “We ask the public to understand that it is the first mission of VHSL to make sure that athletics are conducted in a safe and healthy environment, and it was that desire that motivated the original decision.”
Accordingly, VHSL is rescinding its “requirement” that face coverings be worn during training and competition and is reissuing its guidance to conform with the intent of EO 72 that face masks are “strongly encouraged” but not required. Each school may continue to exercise its discretion and judgment as to safety steps within its athletics programs as it pertains to face coverings.