TAYLOR COUNTY—Amid uncertainty due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, WVSSAC Executive Director Bernie Dolan recently spoke with WBOY about new requirements and recommendations regarding the 2020 prep football season, as well as what fans should expect as the season draws closer.
“First of all, when we changed the school to start to September 8th, we felt like we had to change, or we did have to change, the start of practice, and then when you work backwards it tells you we had, for football, we had to miss a game. And so we work backwards, got a start date, and worked forward from that point as to what other important dates there are,” Dolan said.
He then discussed what went into making new implementations a requirement rather than a recommendation.
“From there we then began to look at recommendations from the National Federation of High Schools, as well as what we already put out before, and talking to our coaches’ committees, seeing what are some best practices we could institute that would continue to make it safer through this virus situation. So that’s how we came up with some things. Some things we just thought were non-negotiable, and other things we felt like these are recommendations if you can do it. Do it but if you can’t, you know they’re okay. But the requirements, we felt like we had to have those in,” explained Dolan.
If the West Virginia high school football season does hold up, another obstacle that the SSAC will have to tackle is fan attendance in regard to social distancing. Dolan spoke briefly on the topic and said that it is the responsibility of each individual school, not the SSAC’s, although they would still provide guidance when asked.
“I certainly don’t think whether or not you’re going to have fans and if you do have fans how many are allowed and what they’re distance and maybe the requirement for them, that will not come from us,” Dolan added. “What we’ll provide is once somebody either from the health department at the local level or at the state levels says these are what you have to do, you have to get to 50 percent, 20 percent, 100 percent, whatever they say, then we’ll work with the schools to help them come up with the plan to say, “if we’re going to get those people in, how do I get them in safely?””
Due to the ever-changing climate of the pandemic, new information from Dolan and the WVSSAC will be reported as it is received.