Saturday, December 2, 2023

School System COVID-19 Guidelines For Student Athletes

COVID-19 graphic (Courtesy of Pexels)

HAMPTON ROADS — Schools across Hampton Roads have been involved in over 17 months of careful decisions since the original pandemic shutdown took place last year. These decisions have determined how the various school districts in Hampton Roads should adapt in order to deal with the COVID-19 virus.

One new development has been how the various public school districts in Hampton Roads have been monitoring COVID-19 data with student athletes. While it’s still unclear how much of an impact school athletics has had on the virus spreading, school districts across the region have been taking the necessary precautions in order to keep their students and faculty safe.

Below is a list of how different school districts are dealing with the COVID-19 in their high school athletics. This list will be updated with more districts and information as the school year progresses:

Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools:

In an Oct. 1 newsletter, Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools (WJCC) released new information about COVID-19’s impact on high school sports.

According to the newsletter, “48.7% of students identified as close contacts from exposure to COVID-19 at school are directly related to participation in sports.”

That same newsletter states that 96 students have been in quartine because of a school athletics-related exposure to COVID-19.

As it currently stands: WJCC does not currently require COVID-19 vaccinations for student-athletes. However, the school district strongly encourages anyone that is old enough to get their COVID-19 shot and take part in weekly screening testing.

According to health experts, vaccination and consistent use of face masks indoors are the best strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep our s

York County Public Schools:
WYDaily has reached out to the school district and is awaiting a response.

Chesapeake Public School District:
The Chesapeake Public School Board has decided in late September, to require student-athletes to be tested weekly for COVID-19 if they have not been vaccinated.

The testing for these schools begins the week of Nov. 8 and will be done by an independent vendor.

Student-athletes who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 should submit proof of vaccination to their school health advisor to be exempt from testing.

Student-athletes who are NOT fully vaccinated will be required to submit a consent form for weekly testing.

Franklin City Public Schools:
The Franklin City School Board voted at a Sept. 16 meeting to require COVID-19 testing for all unvaccinated student-athletes.

Portsmouth Public Schools:
According to an Oct. 7 school board meeting, the school is considering a covid-19 requirement, or a weekly COVID-19 screening like other school districts in the region have already decided to move forward with.

The school district has not yet come to a conclusive vote on what direction they will be moving but they will be monitoring the situation in the upcoming weeks as the discussions continue.

Suffolk City Schools:

The Suffolk School Board voted on Sept. 9 to approve the requirement of all students participating in high school and middle school athletics to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 12.

If student-athletes are not fully vaccinated by Nov.12 deadline then they will need to submit a weekly negative PCR test to their school nurse.

Virginia Beach City Public Schools:
Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) announced on Sept. 28 that all high school students who participate in Virginia High School League (VHSL) winter activities or athletic conditioning that require a physical for participation must either present proof of vaccination or submit to weekly testing for the duration of their participation.

The testing is set to being on Nov.8 and will be provided by VBCPS at no charge to families.

WYDaily will continue to update this story as more information becomes available. 

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