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Henrico County Schools won't play winter sports

Posted at 3:43 PM, Nov 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-30 18:46:19-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Henrico County Schools will not participate in any Virginia High School League (VHSL) winter sports for the 2020-21 school year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

School officials announced the decision Monday in a message to families in staff, saying it was made to protect the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, school employees and the community.

"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," schools spokesperson Andy Jenks wrote. "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 went on to say that spectators would not be possible for indoor or outdoor athletic events due to tightened restrictions limiting the number of people who could attend.

Officials said the circumstances created numerous challenges for athletic programming, including the ability to keep student-athletes safe and healthy.

"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.

In addition to the decision to cancel winter sports, all out-of-season conditioning programs has been suspended until further notice.

Winter sports include basketball, sideline cheer, gymnastics, indoor track, swimming and wrestling.

The City of Richmond canceled all winter sports earlier this month.

School officials say they will reassess the fall 2020 sports season in January. Fall sports had previously been pushed back to a new start date of Feb. 4, 2021.