Let the FCHS basketball games begin…carefully

With crowd size limitations, social distancing regulations and mask usage, the games will be different.
Previous season action: Aimee Whitlow shooting from the three-point line.

Floyd County High School’s boys and girls basketball teams are itching to start their winter season but a double-whammy of COVID-19 and weather got in the way.

That could end next Wednesday (Dec. 23) with the Lady Buffaloes hosting Giles in the gym in Floyd for varsity and JV matches as the boys hit the road to Pearisburg to play there.

The games will be different with severe limitation on the number of fans allowed into the gyms to watch the same, social distancing rules and masks recommended by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) for the young athletes on the bench and while playing.

As the Floyd Press photographer assigned to cover the games, I will observe social distancing and use a mask, which is what I try to do every time I leave the house during the COVID-19 environment.

Tickets to the game are allocated to each player for use of parents and family but what was a 250-person limit for indoor and outdoor sports was reduced by Gov. Ralph Northam to 25, and it is unclear at this point if a further reduction to just 10 applies to the games.

Citizens will televise the games on their cable and internet channel, and we will cover the matches for the Press. I will also provide copies of photos of student athletes to any parent, grandparent or player who requests them.

Parents have expressed differing opinions on whether it is safe for our student athletes to participate in sports but coaches, the athletic director, the FCHS principals and the school superintendent have taken extraordinary steps to try and protect the athletes and participants at the games.

Superintendent John Wheeler says that if a school scheduled to play the Buffaloes does not provide required information on how they safely handle the COVID-19 coronavirus, they will look for another school to play.

This happened in earlier games scheduled against Christiansburg and Blacksburg, which reported problems with COVID-19 and some games were postponed and others played Pulaski County High, Dr. Wheeler said.

“Our first priority is protection of our student athletes, personnel and fans,” he said after the School Board meeting this part Monday.