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VHSL: Students-athletes 'strongly advised' to wear masks while competing

Posted at 12:46 PM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-11 12:46:57-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The Virginia High School League told schools that student athletes in most sports should begin wearing masks while practicing and competing Thursday.

The VHSL issued a release after Governor Northam announced new Coronavirus restrictions, saying schools should follow the state department of health recommendation, which said athletes were "strongly advised" to wear masks.

However, they said this requirement would not apply to athletes in swimming, cheerleading, gymnastics, and wrestling.

The announcement came the same week as basketball tryouts in Chesterfield schools.

"I had a couple kids in my first period who were basketball players, and I asked them, you know, how it went yesterday," said Manchester High School head football coach, Tom Hall. "And they said, it was a little rough, which you can imagine. I mean, you know, kids running up and down a basketball court with a mask on, it's going to be tough, it's going to take some getting used to."

But Hall said tough was nothing new in 2020. He said while the new requirements could make things more difficult, they'd do whatever it takes to be able to play in the upcoming Football season.

"I think if you talk to any coach or player right now, I think people are willing to do whatever they have to do to just to be out there and to be able to compete and actually participate in sports," said Hall. "I mean, we'll put hazmat suits on if we have to... it's to that point. I mean, we, we want the kids to get back... sports and athletics are such an integral part of a kid, their high school experience, and, we want the kids active. The more active you are, the healthier you are. And not just from a physical standpoint, but from an emotional standpoint."

Hall said he'd be on standby to see how the Chesterfield School System advised them to move forward. Henrico and Richmond schools had already decided to cancel winter sports for the year.