Winter Sports During COVID


Winter sports are looking a little different this year due to Covid-19. Some of the major changes winter sports are seeing include major rule changes and not all sports are happening that would usually take place. These new restrictions and rules come from Vermont’s Governor, Phil Scott, in an effort to still have players be able to participate in their sports if possible even with Covid-19. “The documentation is coming from the State of Vermont,” said James Ingalls, head of the Lake Region Athletics program, when he was interviewed by reporters Katie Kelley and Eric Edlund about where he specifically got the guidelines from. When asked how he personally got ahold of the guidelines, whether through an email or by some other means, Ingalls continued saying, “They put it out to the Vermont Principals Association and then that is passed along to us. The Vermont Principals Association oversees both academics and athletics.” (The Vermont Principals Association, also known as the VPA, is an organization that comprises more than 300 schools in Vermont that sponsors activities in both athletics and academics.) Ingalls continued by listing some of the sports that aren’t happening, which include wrestling and indoor track, and the sports that are happening, basketball, snowboarding, cross country skiing, and other outside sports.

After being asked what some of the guidelines are for winter sports, Ingalls began listing saying, “All the athletes, officials, game personnel for basketball have to wear masks and I would assume that the outdoor winter sports are under the same protocol with masks when they’re in close proximity like in a lodge or in a bus just like the fall sports were.” Other protocols that Ingalls did not mention that are on the Vermont Principals Associations list include, but are not limited to:

  • No games are happening until 2021.

  • Games have to be spaced out by three days.

  • Games/Meets/Competitions can only include Vermont-based teams or teams that are available for quarantine-free travel.

  • Schools should do a daily health screen on its coaches, players, and officials before the game or practice begins.

  • Areas have to be sanitized and cleaned before and after practices/games.

*Guidelines are subject to change. Please check the VPA website for the updated rules.*

Now one of these guidelines is making a lot of people feel a mix of emotions and that is the fact that no fans are allowed to watch the games in person. Anybody who wants to watch a game has to do so by watching a livestream instead of actually being in the usually crowded stands. Multiple different sources claim that the reasoning behind this move is so the players can still have their games, but not as many people are in one place at one time. The stands that are usually crowded for games will instead sit empty as the players take the courts. Many fans and parents who enjoy going to games are not happy by this decision as expected. Fans like being able to go to the games and cheer on the players, but that simply just can’t happen this year. When asked about why a high contact sport like basketball was allowed to happen without fans, but a low contact sport like indoor track was not allowed to happen at all, Ingalls said it was mainly based on facilities. “They’re not going to have wrestling or indoor track this year because of facilities and because of the high uptake in Covid and just the sport in general.” He continued later on saying, “All sites for indoor events of that magnitude are closed to any other outside entities.” He went on to list both the University of Vermont and Dartmouth aas some of the places that are usually open for indoor sports that are closed to the public this year. For the sports that are taking place, practices were originally supposed to begin on November 30th and games as soon as January 11th, but these dates are being pushed back. There is no definite date for when practices and games will begin, but many players are hoping it is soon because they can’t wait to get out on the slopes, the court, or just outside.