VHSL announces policies on masks, crowds as state releases new COVID-19 measures

Local Sports

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia High School League has announced adjustments to its rules and regulations following Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s release of new measures on Thursday afternoon.

Winter sports, which began practicing in some areas this week and can start games as early as December 21, are still allowed to continue.

But in a release, the VHSL is “strongly advising athletes to wear masks at all times during group training, competition and on the sidelines” after Northam announced that masks would be required indoors with others and outdoors when social distancing can’t be maintained.

“With the support of the Governor’s office and our VHSL Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC), the VHSL is requiring each school to follow the recommendations of the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP),” VHSL Executive Director, Dr. Billy Haun said in a release. “There are some sports in which the mask should not be worn, such as cheerleading, gymnastics, wrestling and swim and dive.”

Also, crowd sizes will be limited to 25 persons per field or court indoors and two guests per player outdoors through at least January 31. The outdoor crowd size must be under 30 percent of the venue’s normal limits.

As of Tuesday, 38 schools had opted out of the winter sports season according to the VHSL site, including those in Henrico County and the city of Richmond.

Hanover County is among the districts that have suspended, but not canceled, their seasons.

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