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The Virginia High School League further clarified the distinction between spectator and participant following Gov. Ralph Northam’s new-statewide order to reduce in-person gatherings from 250 to 25 for league sports and activities.

In a news release issued Friday, the VHSL said the 25-person limit does not include participants. Participants are defined as “players, coaches, officials, school event staff and school administration critical to the operations of the contests, media, law enforcement, and medical services.”

The VHSL release said that “cheerleaders, pep bands, etc., and other student support groups, are counted as spectators in the limit of 25 allowed at events.”

The VHSL also stated that in Northam’s mandate “the total number of spectators cannot exceed the lesser of 30% of the occupancy load of the certificate of occupancy for the venue, if applicable, or 25 spectators per field. Races or marathons may have up to 250 participants, provided staggered starts separate runners into groups of 25 or less.”

In compliance with Northam’s order, the VHSL release said schools must “conduct screening of coaches, officials, staff, and players for COVID-19 symptoms prior to admission to the venue/facility.”

The winter sports season begins Dec. 7 with basketball practice. The first day of games is Dec. 21. 

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