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Hoping for the best

Just like whatever the ultimate plan is for school itself, the plan announced Monday by the Virginia High School League for sports and other extracurricular activities in the state’s public schools is not ideal.

In this awful situation, there will be no such thing as a plan that works for everyone — whether that’s the sports plan, the school plan, the work plan or the life plan. We’re about to enter the fifth month of having our lives upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it doesn’t seem there is an end in sight. Back in March, a lot of people thought this would all be over by now, but unfortunately, the virus has only spread.

We encourage everyone impacted by all of these changes to hang in there and make the best of the opportunities we have. The changes have been deemed necessary, and while they may cause consternation for some, they are the best way to protect ourselves and our neighbors from the virus.

By their very nature, most sports bring athletes in close proximity to one another and have them sharing equipment and, sometimes, enclosed spaces. And while statistics show that healthy, active young people are unlikely to suffer greatly from COVID-19, less is known about how readily they can spread it to others, including their parents, grandparents and teachers. Therefore, it’s important to limit their contact with others just as it is for those of us who can only dream of being in high school again.

There is still a lot of uncertainty in the VHSL sports plan, particularly because it is contingent upon the entire state staying in Phase 3 of its reopening plan.

Those competing in winter sports such as basketball, gymnastics, indoor track, swimming and diving and wrestling would be able to practice beginning Dec. 14, with no competitions or games to be scheduled until Dec. 28 and the season running through Feb. 20.

Sports that normally operate in the fall — football, cheer, cross country, field hockey, golf and volleyball — will not be able to start practicing until Feb. 15, with games running from March 1 through May 1.

The spring sports season — for those who play baseball, softball, lacrosse, soccer, tennis and track and field — would begin April 12 and go through June 26, with the first games to be played no earlier than April 26.

We know this is not how some of Suffolk’s excellent student-athletes planned on spending their sports seasons this school year, but we hope it will turn out to be best for everyone in the long run.