Virginia high school sports to return following amended executive order

The league which oversees high school sports in Virginia has released guidelines for resuming some activities in December, after the state’s governor loosened coronavirus-related restrictions on recreational activities last week.

The Virginia High School League said it is ready to welcome back high school athletic programs next month after Gov. Ralph Northam signed an amended Executive Order 67, which includes changes regarding recreational sports on Thursday.

The changes allow the VHSL to move ahead with its “Championship +1” schedule, which received approval in September by that group’s executive committee.

Among the rules: screenings of coaches, officials, staff and players for COVID-19 are required.

Indoor and outdoor sports can be played if the total number of attendees is less than 250 people. Smaller venues can host events with no more than 50% capacity.

Races and marathons can have as many as 1,000 participants, but staggered start times are required.

Hugging and high-fiving, handshaking and fist-bumps are not allowed under the VHSL guidelines.

“This amendment by the Governor clears the way for all of our sports to play,” said VHSL Executive Director John W. “Billy” Haun.

“Adherence to these guidelines will offer a safe reopening for our students, coaches, staff, officials, and communities once we start playing in December. Additionally, we appreciate the close collaboration and guidance from the Governor’s office, the Virginia Department of Health, and the Virginia Department of Education,” Haun said in a statement.

The Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) said it will release its safety guidelines on Nov 6.

WTOP’s Sandy Kozel contributed to this report.

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Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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