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Petersburg high school winter sports to continue: 'We are willing to make sure that we stay safe'

Posted at 12:01 AM, Dec 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 08:24:18-05

PETERSBURG, Va. -- The Petersburg School Board voted 6 to 1, Wednesday night, for high school winter sports to start in January. They become the latest school system in the area to do so, behind Hanover County.

This will include basketball, indoor track and field, wrestling and cheerleading, for the high school only.

“Congratulations coach Lawson," Petersburg School Board Chairman Kenneth Prichett said. "And for the students, we look forward to y’all bringing back the championship trophy."

The vote came Wednesday evening during a special meeting with school members, just weeks after they voted on canceling the winter season due to covid-19 pandemic.

School board leaders said they have policies in place such as guidelines for each coach, not allowing spectators at indoor events
and having players sit six feet apart in assigned chairs. Measures local health leaders feel okay with.

“I feel as a health professional, I feel really comfortable that they have things in place to not only get things started but if you have an incident or something, their policies will be able to handle that and make a decision," Dr. Bobby Duhart said.

However, some school board leaders had concerns.

“We go home, and we go other places, that’s my concerns," Bernard Lundy said.

Many of the varsity boys' and girls' basketball players spoke during Wednesday's meeting, pleading their case to allow sports in 2021.

“Many of us guys have a love and passion for the game and most of us want to go far in life and make our parents proud," Petersburg Senior, Jaden Walker said.

"We are willing to make sure that we stay safe. I’ll quit my job just to make sure I’m quarantine and staying clean so that I don’t harm anybody else," Petersburg High School student, Janai Houston said.

Students will not be required to get COVID tested but will be monitored based on symptoms. The school board said If one positive COVIDcase arises in a specific sport, that sport will be postponed or canceled for the season.

The vote to play winter sports comes after the City of Richmond and Henrico County canceled their winter sports seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic.