The Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) postponed its decision Tuesday on whether to cancel the divisions’ high school winter sports season this year because of current COVID-19 data of the area.
Last week, Virginia Beach Superintendent Aaron Spence wrote in a letter to families that if either the percent positivity or the 7-day daily average of cases – two indicators used in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s K-12 School Metrics – does not improve to the “yellow range” by Tuesday, the winter sports season would be cancelled.
Once Tuesday arrived, the two indicators had not improved, but Spence said in a statement that he decided to postpone any decision on winter sports after monitoring regional health data and speaking with individuals, including other superintendents and local health officials.
“While we may, ultimately, still need to cancel the winter season, acknowledging the reality of our current health metrics does not mean we must be inflexible to other data points and potential changes at the state level,” Spence said.
“Therefore, over the next couple of weeks, my team will continue to monitor our health metrics, talk with our neighboring school divisions, and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Virginia High School League (VHSL), engage with our colleagues on exhausting all possibilities before making any final decision,” he continued.
Spence also did not provide a specific date for when the school division would make a final decision on winter sports, only that he would communicate again as new information becomes available.
VHSL winter sports involve cheerleading, gymnastics, wrestling, swim and dive, basketball and indoor track and field.
The Virginia Star reached out to Spence and several other school officials for comment, but did not get any responses before press time.
Unlike VBCPS, many other school divisions throughout Virginia, such as Henrico County and Richmond, have already made a choice on whether to cancel winter sports due to the coronavirus pandemic or push forward with the season.
As of Friday, 23 school divisions and 40 individual high schools from different areas have decided to not participate in winter sports this year, according to the VHSL.
Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools is the only school system in the Virginia Beach region to have canceled already.
Some of the localities that decided to continue with their seasons include: Greene, Louisa, Albemarle and Orange counties as well as Charlottesville City, among others.
Under the adopted VHSL Championship +1 schedule, basketball and cheerleading teams across the Commonwealth were allowed to begin practices and tryouts on December 7, with the first basketball games starting this past Monday.
Indoor track and field, wrestling, swim and dive and gymnastics began practices on December 14, and the seasons for those sports kick off at the end of the month on December 28.
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