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Virginia High School League

The VHSL on Monday rescinded a decision made last week that required its member schools to follow health recommendations which would have forced athletes in several sports including basketball to wear masks during practices and competition.

In a press release issued Friday, the Virginia High School League addressed the impact of Governor Ralph Northam’s new statewide measure to contain COVID-19, specifically the reduction from 250 to 25 spectators for in-person gatherings, will have on VHSL sports and activities.

Virginia High School League Executive Director Billy Haun said Friday that he expects the rescheduled 2020-21 sports seasons for the state’s public schools to begin in December after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed an amended executive order relating to recreational athletics.

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“It was a tough decision,” Harper said. “We have a great relationship with the people over there at Tennessee High and there is so much history and tradition. However, we feel like we are in different places right now in terms of enrollment, in terms of resources and we’re trying to take care of our kids. Depth probably plays more of a role in football than anything else when you start looking at the numbers game. It’s kind of a mismatch for the time being.”

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“We understand there’s a lot of history there and tradition,” Virginia High athletic director Brad Harper said. “We certainly do not want to minimize that history. There are a lot of interwoven paths there from Virginia High playing games at the Stone Castle to being crosstown rivals. But our enrollment was certainly a lot different now than it was back in the 1980s.”

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Sullivan County schools could return to scholastic activities in a limited capacity on June 1, according to a Return to Action Plan that was released on Monday by the Northeast Tennessee School Systems.

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The Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association made it official on Wednesday, canceling all spring sports and any all remaining events in the 2019-20 school year due to the coronavirus.

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