HRLax'ers - Below is a message from US Lacrosse. It's not a short message, but if you want to play lacrosse this year, it's an important one, so I hope you'll read. More importantly, this is a CALL TO ACTION. If we do nothing, we may not play the game we love, so please be part of the solution and let the VHSL committe know that you want to play!!! - Mark Keller, Director of Operations, HRLax
We hope that you are all faring well during these challenging times. US Lacrosse has been working hard to provide resources and a road-map for return to play for our lacrosse community. As school administrators across the nation are tasked with the difficult job of guiding all of their student-athletes back to school and athletics in the Fall, we have found that some states could benefit from hearing from our community about recommended approaches to bring athletes back to the lacrosse field safely. This is why we are reaching out to you!
You may have learned by now that the VHSL has presented several proposals for returning athletics to the schools in VA, and the VHSL's executive committee will be voting on this proposal on July 27. The three models under consideration by the VHSL appear below:
• Leave all sports in the season where they are currently aligned. Low and Moderate contact risk sports that would be allowed to play are golf and cross country
• High-risk sports that would not be played are field hockey, football, volleyball, and cheer
• All VHSL Academic activities are Low or Moderate risk.
• Switch the Fall and Spring Season
• Low and Moderate contact risk sports that would be allowed to play in the Fall are Track & Field, Tennis, Soccer, Baseball, and Softball
• High-risk sports that would not be played are Boys and Girls Lacrosse
• All VHSL Academic activities are Low or Moderate risk.
• Leave all sports in the season where they are currently aligned.
• Season 1 (Winter) December 14 – February 20 (First Contest Date – December 28)
• Season 2 (Fall) February 15 – May 1 (First Contest Date – March 1)
• Season 3 (Spring) April 12 – June 26 (First Contest Date – April 26)
US Lacrosse has joined many friends and leaders in the state of Virginia in urging the leadership of the VHSL to vote against the second model, which will eliminate the upcoming girls and boys lacrosse season and recommend that they vote for the third model which will enable all sports to return the field this Spring, with later start dates and abbreviated schedules.
You can help with this effort by reaching out to Dr. Haun and the members of the VHSL Executive Committee, who will be voting on this proposal on July 27 and tell them how you feel about the proposal and how important lacrosse is to you and your athletes.
Please feel free to use and personalize this letter below, as you are coaches, parents, and educators within the state of Virginia, and these members would appreciate knowing that your feelings about bringing lacrosse back to school in VA are important to you. Attached is the email contact list for the VHSL Executive Committee. Please feel free to BCC US Lacrosse on your outreach, at
Thank you so much for your willingness to assist with this important effort and share this request with others in the Virginia lacrosse community who want to have their voices heard about this important decision.
Dear Dr. Haun and members of the VHSL Executive Committee,
I hope that this outreach finds you all well during these challenging times. As a lacrosse coach, advocate, and Virginia resident, I wanted to thank you and the VHSL Executive Committee for your steadfast leadership overseeing the Virginia public schools through these unprecedented and incredibly difficult circumstances.
As the Executive Committee prepares to vote on a plan for a return for athletics in Virginia schools on July 27, I wanted to share our strong recommendation to reject the second proposal that calls for the elimination of boys and girls lacrosse for the 2021 season, to ensure that fall sports can play a full season in the Spring.
In the wake of the global pandemic and the resulting suspension of sport, a number of national sports organizations have issued a return to play guidelines and risk assessment tools in an effort to provide informed direction on activity risk and graduated resumption of sport participation. Our sport's national governing body, US Lacrosse, recently published its "Return to Play Recommendations for Lacrosse" and encourages the national lacrosse community to review and adhere to these guidelines in the months to come in an effort to appropriately balance infection and injury risk with the desire to return to the field. A medical advisory committee developed these recommendations and full set recommendations, updated as of July 1, 2020, at the following link: https://www.uslacrosse.org/return-to-play. The feedback on this plan from state policy and public health experts, NFHS, families, and league directors has been very favorable, and tournament operators throughout the country have embraced and utilized this guidance for their youth and high school events occurring throughout the summer.
The US Lacrosse Sports Science & Safety Committee has also reviewed other national organizations' classifications of sport, by risk level, and has shared its belief that both boys' and girls' lacrosse are appropriately placed in the moderate risk category relative to the potential for COVID-19 infection given the fact that the sport is played outdoors, shared equipment is not part of the game, and any type of contact (stick and body) and extended periods of closeness can be mitigated through minor adjustments to playing rules.
The 2020 spring high school lacrosse season in Virginia was canceled due to COVID-19, and given the fact that there are medically informed, nationally recognized, return to play recommendations available to serve as a guide for when the spring lacrosse season returns in 2021 – I see no reason why girls lacrosse and boys lacrosse would be singled out to be eliminated in Virginia or any community.
I recognize that the number of public high schools that have football in Virginia – far out-number the schools that have lacrosse (307 schools and 22,526 boys athletes for football vs. 104 schools and 3,835 girls for girls lacrosse and 108 schools and 4,734 boys for boys lacrosse) – but the opportunity to play girls and boys lacrosse is significant and growing in the state, at all levels. Canceling a season for two consecutive years would have a devastating impact on the sport's development in the state and on the student-athletes who participate. It is also worth noting that there are 19 NCAA Men's Lacrosse programs and 29 NCAA Women's Lacrosse programs in the state of Virginia, many of which field highly competitive teams in their respective divisions annually and provide roster spots to in-state student-athletes.
The VHSL has many considerations to mull over as they determine the best path forward for its schools and student-athletes, but given the supporting information provided in this letter, I would strongly urge the Executive Committee to embrace the third model, which allows for a return of all high school sports in Virginia, with delayed starts and abbreviated schedules.
Thank you for consideration of our recommendation regarding the VHSL's return to play proposal, and I hope that our community can count on your vote to support all sports return to the field this school year.
Rick Lake, MBA
Men’s Lacrosse Director
2 Loveton Circle | Sparks, MD 21152
P: 410-235-6882 Ext. # 195
USLacrosse.org | USLaxMagazine.com
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