There’s a lot to be figured out before the Vermont fall high school sports season can begin. VPA Executive Director’s Jay Nichols and Bob Johnson spoke with Local 22/44 regarding the upcoming season. Ultimately, it’s up to the state when high school sports can begin, not the VPA.
“We want to make sure that kids come to school and they can be screened at school. As opposed to asking coaches many of whom are part time employees to take on that task. We have a much better chance to start and finish the fall season if we do it the right way. If we start bringing back people— and start having a bunch of cases we could really be putting ourselves in a position where we lose a sports season and we don’t want to do that” said Nichols.
A few sports are more high risk than others, the VPA Executives are unsure if all sports will be in action this fall. Information regarding the virus and guidelines are rapidly changing. With constant new information and numbers it’s difficult to make a set decision on fall sports.
Executive Director Jay Nichols noted that he’s hoping the VPA can open all sports. But it’s up to the Department of Health and Vermont Agency of Education.
There’s also multiple stages to the re-opening process as well. Student-athletes won’t be able to step on the field immediately.
“A lot of it also depends on what step we’re at when we come back to schools. It’s a three-step process and if we come back at step two, which is what we think we’ll be at, then there will be a certain period of time for teams to practice. Step three is where they can actually play games” said Johnson.
Football being a high risk sport will be treated differently, there’s going to be a longer period of waiting time due to the nature of the sport said Johnson.
In 2019, multiple football teams around the Green Mountain State struggled to fill the roster, whether it was due to battling injuries or low numbers of participation. With the COVID-19 pandemic in place, teams may struggle to get kids back on the field.
“If we’re able to play sports I think they’ll be out there. The kids wanna be out there. Again, we’ve got to make sure that it’s safe and I know sometimes people can be frustrated by that but we’re just going to take whatever measures we have to make sure the kids are safe” said Johnson.
Local 22/44 will keep you updated with any future announcements from the VPA. For now, the VPA is planning on having sports begin on the first in-person school day.