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High school sports in doubt

The landscape of area high school sports, which has been in a constant state of flux since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, has shifted once again with the announcement last week that Buckingham County High School would not be participating in rescheduled fall sports for the 2020-21 school year.

However, hope remains for Prince Edward County High School (PECHS), Cumberland County High School and Fuqua School.

According to the Virginia High School League’s condensed 2020-21 fall sports schedule, football practice can begin Feb. 4, and the first games can take place Feb. 22 and 27.

Prince Edward Athletics Director Rodney Kane is awaiting word on whether or not the Eagles and Lady Eagles will be suiting up for football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country and cheer.

“Right now, I’m waiting for the school board office to let me know something,” he said Monday, Jan. 18. “I’ve asked if we can play athletics for the fall season, and I’m just waiting for some answer back.”

While only spring sports remain a possibility at Buckingham, Kane said the fall and spring sports seasons are still possible for Prince Edward.

“I would say we would have a better chance at spring than the fall season, but basically I’ve asked if we can play the full season or not,” he said.

He hopes to get an answer soon, adding that the James River District wants to know by Tuesday, Jan. 26. If Prince Edward is not participating, other participating district schools will have to find new opponents to play.

“With football, it’s much harder,” Kane said. “(With) basketball, baseball, stuff like that, you can find games a little easier than football. Football’s tougher because you only have one game a week, and then you have to find somebody who has that week open that’s looking for a game, so it’s much harder to find.”

He noted PECHS has yet to bring students back on campus for in-person classes, though this is slated to happen in the first two weeks of February.

Neither Prince Edward nor Buckingham are participating in winter sports this school year, but Cumberland and Fuqua have been.

However, given that Cumberland returned to full remote learning Wednesday, Jan. 13, after a member of the school nutrition team tested positive for COVID-19, the Dukes and Lady Dukes are out of action for now.

“Right now with the change back to virtual learning only until Feb. 1, Cumberland has put all sports on pause until in-person learning resumes,” Cumberland Athletics Director Joseph Nowak said. “With that being said, I have been told that as long as Cumberland is in person, then we will offer all of our athletic programs.”

This includes not only Cumberland winter but fall and spring sports as well.

Fuqua, which has been holding school in person, is expected to move forward with fall and spring sports for the 2020-21 school year.

“For Fuqua, fall sports will start practice on Feb. 1, and the fall season will end April 2,” Fuqua Athletics Director Mike Edwards stated. “Spring sports will begin April 5 and will end in May.”