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Alexandria High Schools Face Challenges with Athletes During Pandemic

Right now, Alexandria high schools are coordinating how sports are going to work for teams of students who are champing at the bit to get back into their respective games.

“We have a plan,” Jim Harris, the T.C. Williams High School coordinator of student activities, said in a recent Zoom call with the Alexandria Sportsmen’s Club. “We’re just waiting for approval to get on the field and actually start conditioning.”

T.C. Williams High School is gearing up for cheerleading and basketball to start on December 7, followed by winter sports (indoor track, wrestling and swimming) starting on December 14. The Virginia High School League schedule for public schools also has football games set for February and spring sports (soccer, tennis, baseball, softball, outdoor track and lacrosse) will start in April.

Harris said that students will self-report on a student medical database, and that coaches immediately get that spreadsheet.

Bishop Ireton High School is offering a hybrid model that allows in-person instruction. Student athletes aren’t competing, but they’re working out on campus with coaches and teammates.

“I think our parents are more happy than anything because they got happy kids that are coming home tired, they have kids who are emotionally and mentally happy to be physically doing things,” Dwayne Bryant, the BI athletic director and boys varsity basketball coach.

St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School has a staggered schedule bringing kids back into classrooms. The school and broke up its athletic season into three five-week sessions and just wrapped up fall sports. They are and are now in their second five week session with winter sports.

“We decided that we would take things slow,” said Jeff Walrich, the SSSAS athletic director for the boys. “We’ve brought kids back onto campus to do some training and to be with their coaches. The kids have been missing is that relationship. So, while they’re training, our focus has been Monday team bonding with their peers and also with their coaches, which is a huge deal.”

Bryant said the latest approval by the NCAA allowing all college athletes to play an extra year presents problems for his students.

“A lot of these seniors, normally at this time would be getting prepared to do their signing celebrations in November, are now scrambling to actually find schools, or even get a chance to be seen,” Bryant said. “We were fortunate enough out there with 10 girls from my lacrosse team that have actually committed to play college next year. And with football being put on hold, a lot of those guys… are working hard trying to put together whatever film they can, but it’s pretty difficult.”

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