H.S. Fall Sports changes: face coverings mandate

Players will be required to wear face coverings while playing games this high school fall sports season.
Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 9:40 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - When the Governor announced on Friday that there will be a high school fall season, he added that it be exactly the fall season that we are all accustomed to. At Tuesday’s press conference, more details on just what that will mean were revealed.

There will be a high school football season, but it won't be traditional 11-on-11 tackle football. Instead, officials are working on a plan for a 7-on-7 touch football season.

Also, high school volleyball teams can hold practices indoors, but any games against other schools must take place outside.

Teams can begin practices when schools reopen on September 8th. They can conduct conditioning, skill-building drills and inter-program scrimmages. Competition between schools is expected to begin the week of September 21st.

When teams do meet on the field for games, face coverings will be required at all times for players, coaches and spectators, that includes the athletes when they are playing on the field.

Exceptions have been made for cross-country, where meets could use staggered start times to maintain social distancing. But for other sports, such as soccer and field hockey, officials said maintaining safe physical distancing without face coverings was not possible.

Vermont Principals' Association Executive Director Jay Nichols also said he did not think the face covering requirement would keep the large majority of high school players across the state from competing in their chosen sport this fall.

"I've talked to my own grandson, who is a soccer player. Obviously, he doesn't wanna wear a mask, but he'd rather wear mask and play then not be able to play and I think that's where most kids are going to fall.", said Nichols.

“They’re going to have the opportunity to be physically active, they’re gonna be doing it on in a way that, hopefully, will assure parents that they understand that we are taking safety seriously, and they’ll get the opportunity to play, which is better than a lot of places are having and better than what we faced in the spring.”

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