Henrico County Public Schools cancels winter sports due to COVID-19 concerns

Henrico County

HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico County Public Schools announced Monday that the school system will not participate in any winter sports, which include basketball, wrestling and gymnastics, for the 2020-21 school year due to concerns over a rise in COVID-19 cases in the region.

A spokesman for Henrico schools, Andy Jenks, shared in a message online that no Virginia High School League winter sports would be played this school year, citing the risk of the coronavirus and restrictions that would have prevented families from attending games and events. The district will also suspend all out-of-season conditioning programs until further notice.

“Over the last few weeks, we have been closely monitoring regional health data which shows a steep rise in COVID-19 cases across our region. We are already seeing the increase in community-based cases directly impact some of our teams in their out-of-season athletic conditioning programs,” Jenks wrote in the statement. “You may also know that on Nov. 13, Virginia tightened restrictions limiting the number of people who could attend indoor or outdoor athletic events, which meant having spectators would not be possible.”

According to the Virginia High School League, winter sports include basketball, gymnastics, indoor track, wrestling, swimming and diving. Henrico schools will reassess whether it will have fall sports, which had been pushed back to Feb. 4, in January.

“The circumstances described above created numerous challenges for our athletic programming, including the ability to keep our student-athletes safe and healthy (basketball, sideline cheer, gymnastics, indoor track, swimming and wrestling all take place indoors, in competitive environments where physical distancing cannot be maintained.) While we regret having to take this position, which will no doubt be disappointing to many of our student-athletes, we will always prioritize the health and safety of everyone involved,” Jenks continued.

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