Sports

Winter high school sports put on hold; hope for season remains

MONTPELIER — Gov. Phil Scott today announced that the start of winter high school sports practices — which had been set for Nov. 30 by the most recently released guidelines — has been indefinitely postponed. 
The announcement, made at Scott’s regular Tuesday COVID-19 media conference, aligns school sports guidelines with adult and youth league guidelines. 
“Like recreational sports, (school sports) are paused until further notice. We will review it again each week,” Scott said.
However, with competition for winter school sports not set to begin until Jan. 11, there remains a chance games and events can go on as scheduled — with the exception of wrestling and indoor track, which have already been ruled out either for reasons of safety or lack of available venues.
Middlebury Union High School Activities Sean Farrell said the dates built in to the earlier guidelines already allowed for ample time for athletes to prepare for competition, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1. 
A delay to mid-December, for example, Farrell said, would still give them time to get ready even considering schools’ holiday vacations. 
“I think it’s still possible, because they built in six weeks of preparation,” he said.
How Vermont and its residents come out on the other side of the Thanksgiving holiday could be crucial, Farrell said. If the COVID pandemic worsens, winter sports could indeed be in jeopardy.
“It’s all based on the numbers,” he said. 
Farrell believes the governor and his administration and health officials will do what they can to permit athletes to play safely under the stringent guidelines in place, which include no fans, among other provisions. 
“We just have to do it safely,” he said.  

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