As expected by many, the Virginia High School League (VHSL) voted at their July 27 meeting to go for Model three which moves the entire high school sports season into the second semester. At this time in the Covid-19 pandemic Phase Three will not allow high risk sports (those with close physical contact) to be played. This ruling only affects high school sports within the state of Virginia. The VHSL will continue to work very closely with the most available information and directives from the Governor, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) said VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun. This ruling only affects Virginia, several states have already decided to cancel fall sports. In the US there are more than 13,000 districts involving over eight million student-athletes.
Model 3, the condensed Interscholastic Plan shows Season 1 (Winter) from December 14 to February 20 with the first game no earlier than December 28. This includes basketball (both girls’ and guys’), gymnastics, indoor track, swimming/diving and wrestling.
Season 2, normally the fall sports season, begins February 15 and goes to May 1 with the first contest set for March 1. This would include football, cheer, cross country, field hockey, golf and volleyball. Season 3 (Spring) would begin April 12 and go to June 26 with the first game being April 26. This season would include, baseball, lacrosse, soccer (again both guys and gals), softball, tennis, track and field. Some of these sports are not participated in Group A and others not at Northumberland, for example tennis.
Dr. Travis Burns, Principal of Northumberland High School stated, “I am certainly thankful we are looking at all sports. I am really excited about that. It will be a challenge to put plans in place for decisions for coaches and kids to participate in more than one sport. We have had some conversations about how we can accomplish that.”
Teresa Rock, NHS Athletic Director was asked would physicals be required. “Absolutely” she said, adding “They must still have physicals; get them now. They will still be good until the end of the school year.”
Aaron Lewis, head football coach for NHS said “It’s definitely unusual. It will be weird for everybody.” Lewis was asked about the 7 on 7 game format that has no tackling and blocking, “It would be great for us,” noting the Indians speed.
Coach Michael Stevenson, head basketball coach for NHS and NMS Athletic Director said of preparation for December’s beginning basketball season. “I have been encouraging them to work out. We have sent some things to do, calisthecnics, pushups, including running a mile three times a week.” Stevenson did note “I don’t think anything is etched in stone, it can change daily.”