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'Everything is a possibility' | High school sports remain in limbo as fall season gets closer

With the spread of coronavirus still bringing concerns, organizers continue to hold discussions over possible changes to fall sports season.

VIRGINIA, USA — With the spread of coronavirus still bringing concerns across the country, the fate of fall sports season for high schools remains unknown as organizers continue to hold talks about the impact to competition.

The Virginia High School League (VHSL) spoke to WUSA9 on Friday about the ongoing discussions with state leaders, sports directors, and superintendents around the state.

While a vote on possible changes to fall sports scheduling could come as early as next week, VHSL Executive Director Billy Haun said the situation continued to evolve.

"This doesn’t compare to anything I’ve done in 41 years of public education," he said. "Every time you think you got it nailed down, you’ve got to plan that something changes.”

Talks over fall sports are happening as school districts continue to figure out how to get students and teachers back in classrooms.

According to Haun, decisions over in-person or virtual learning could greatly impact sports schedules.

"Getting everybody in the building at the same time in order to have practice is a huge issue," he said. "If we are going to play sports, how will the students who aren’t in school that day get to practice after school?” 

Haun also pointed to financial concerns with holding sports during a pandemic.

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Total costs for cleaning procedures and supplies remain unknown and social distancing guidelines could lead to schools needing to use extra buses to transport student-athletes to competitions.

Aside from planning issues, Haun said plenty of health concerns were being looked at for fall sports.

While many teenagers don't fall into high-risk groups for coronavirus, he said adults helping the teams also had to be considered.

"We have coaches who would be involved. We have officials who would be involved. We will need adults to run the games," the executive director said. "It’s not all about the students. It’s also about the adults involved.” 

Haun said that VHSL staff will hold additional meetings with state leaders and the governor's office next Monday before the sports group's executive committee meets on Wednesday.

While a decision on the fate of fall sports waits to be determined, Haun asked parents to be patient as organizers analyzed safety and logistical elements for returning to the field. 

"Anything is a possibility," he said. "A lot of it is going to depend on what that health data looks like. There’s a lot of things that are involved in this decision, not just do we want kids to go out there and play.” 

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