HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - Henrico County Public Schools have canceled sports for the winter, according to a notice released on Monday afternoon.
The notice informed students and parents that the step was due to a steep rise in COVID-19 cases; it’s intended to protect the health and safety of student-athletes and coaches.
All off-season conditioning is being suspended until further notice as well.
Henrico will reassess things in January as it pertains to fall sports, which are scheduled to start in February, as well as a return to out of season workouts.
Monday’s decision cancels basketball, wrestling, swimming and diving, indoor track and sideline cheerleading.
Monday afternoon saw disappointment sweep across the county as players and coaches learned the news. Highland Springs head girls basketball coach Franklin Harris saw his Springers denied a chance to play in the state championship game back in March because of the pandemic and nearly nine months later, COVID-19 is causing more heartbreak.
“First you tell them they’re not playing the state finals and now you’re having to tell your eight seniors that they’re not going to have their senior season,” Harris said.
The longtime head coach spent most of the late afternoon and evening consoling his players. Eight seniors will miss out on a chance to play another high school basketball game.
“That’s the tough part- being the first one to tell them, or right after they’ve read it, you’re the first person that they call.”
Harris also notes that one of the toughest aspects of the current situation is not having the answers to some of his players’ questions. Many want to know if there’s a chance the decision can be overturned and if they might get a shot to take the court.
The Springers’ head coach is opting to push forward with positivity and thinks his team can take a big lesson away from the current circumstances. He knows that smoother times are ahead and he’ll help them push forward.
“We’re like a boxer,” Harris said. “OK, we’ve taken that hit. Let’s get up, let’s take that 10 second count and let’s get going. That’s the mindset I believe we’ve got to hit.”
Henrico is the second school system to make this call, following Richmond. Chesterfield and Hanover have not made any final decisions.
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