MONTPELIER — Official word on school-based winter sports was released this morning, and while it will cause much disappointment, it appears Vermont athletes will be able to compete this winter.
As the cold weather approaches, the state and the country have seen a growth in case counts and positivity rates of the COVID-19 virus.
The state of Vermont plans to move forward cautiously, allowing schools to begin winter athletic practices on November 30; games will begin after January 11.
The six-week gap was instituted purposefully to give health experts an opportunity to watch for infection trends and make adjustments as necessary. Higher rates could cause additional delays.
The cautious approach was taken upon the guidance of health experts, educators, the Vermont Department of Health, and the Agency of Education.
Sadly, athletes competing in wrestling and indoor track will be unable to compete this year due to the inability to identify ways to mitigate risks involved with the sports.
Cheerleading squads may compete, but no vocal routines will be allowed.
Indoor gatherings have been recognized as high-risk, and all indoor, school-based sporting events will be held without spectators.
That will include basketball, bowling, cheer, dance gymnastics, and hockey.
The mask mandate will be continued for athletes, coaches, and officials.
Teams are also being asked to withhold from any team-based social gatherings as the risk of transmission at a gathering is possibly higher than during competition.