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VHSL announces mitigation guidelines for return to participation in December

VHSLGov. Ralph Northam on Thursday signed an amended Executive Order 67 that will allow the VHSL Championship + 1 schedule to begin playing in December as scheduled.

In line with the amended order, the VHSL has released its “Guidelines for Return to Participation” for school divisions. This document will provide guidance for our schools to ensure a safe reopening of sports and activities.

“This amendment by the governor clears the way for all of our sports to play,” VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun said. “We appreciate the time, effort, and input staff received while preparing this document. 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.”

The amended executive order did not change the number of attendees permitted at a sporting event, which cannot exceed the lesser of 50 percent of the occupancy load or 250 persons. For sports played on a field, attendees are limited to 250 person per field.

The modifications outlined in “Guidelines for Return to Participation” are meant to decrease potential exposure to respiratory droplets by encouraging social distancing, limiting participation in administrative tasks to essential personnel and allowing for appropriate protective equipment.

Recommendations include cleaning and disinfecting; mask protocols; transportation; and how to run activities safely for individual sports and activities.

Teams conducting out-of-season workouts will continue to abide by Phase 3 Guidelines as established by the VHSL and the Virginia Department of Health, regardless of established adjustments allowed for in-season teams to conduct regular season and postseason events.