CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - There will be no sports until at least October, and only cross country and girls tennis will be able to compete at that time.
That was the decision in a joint announcement from the League of Independent Schools and the Virginia Preparatory League on Tuesday.
Fork Union Military Academy, St. Anne’s-Belfield, and Woodberry Forest are among the schools in Central Virginia who compete in the leagues.
STAB Director of Athletics Dewayne Robinson is also the Prep League President.
Robinson says, “We talked through some of those realistic options, and all came to a consensus, that this is what we thought we could commit to at this time, to begin the process of planning interscholastic competition.”
Tennis, cross country, and golf are “low risk” sports, according to the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association’s updated list of risk levels for Fall Sports.
Soccer, field hockey, and volleyball are “moderate risk” sports, but field hockey and volleyball can become “low risk” with masks, and extra cleaning.
Football is the only “high risk” sport.
“We have not as a league said, ‘We are officially not doing this, this, or this,’” says Robinson. “What our focus was, was let’s focus on what we feel we can do at this moment, and let’s take it week by week.”
The Saints were ready to return to 11-man football this year.
“It hurts to lose any sport,” says Robinson, “and you feel for those student-athletes, and you feel for those coaching staffs. We can only hope that a direction will shift in this pandemic that will allow us to reconsider or re-imagine what competition in these sports will look like.”
The independent leagues have boarding schools, and fewer students, which made a VHSL-style schedule, where everything is condensed into the winter and spring, not really an option.
Robinson says, “I think there were certainly different considerations that our independent school colleagues have to take into mind that is different from what the VHSL had to consider. There’s a lot of difficulties in what they presented, that our member schools found to be challenges, that we didn’t know if we would be able to accommodate.”
The VISAA Executive Committee voted on July 24th to cancel all fall sport championships for the coming school year, and the championships for those sports will not be moved to the spring.