MHSAA amends rule regarding virtual-only schools

Published 10:48 am Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The Mississippi High School Activities Association amended their rule on Monday regarding schools that transition to a virtual-only format due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

Earlier this summer, MHSAA announced all schools that go virtual-only would not be allowed to participate in any activities or athletics. This was due to student-athletes been considered a homeschool student and deemed ineligible for any MHSAA-sanctioned events.

With the Delta Variant causing the latest surge of COVID-19 cases throughout the state, resulting in multiple schools and school districts to shift to virtual-only temporarily or long-term, volleyball and football teams were starting to lose games at a rapid rate. Any in-season sport at a school that is virtual-only was having to stop practices and forfeit any games lost during the duration of time not being in a classroom.

MHSAA executive director Ricky Neaves made an announcement on Monday that amended their rule, providing less restrictions on in-season teams.

Any in-season team at a school that is virtual-only is now allowed to practice, with their respective school district’s approval, during the virtual-only duration. This allows for teams to not have to go through an acclimation period after being shut down, costing most teams an extra week of practice and loss of games on the schedule.

“Because of the times we’re in and the 10-day acclimation period we have revised that rule,” Neaves said in a video statement posted on Monday. “If practice is still going on, it will keep those students (acclimated). Once school returns to in-person learning then the schedule can be picked up at that point.”

Any games or activity competitions scheduled during a school’s transition to 100-percent virtual, are not allowed to be played and must be forfeited. Once a school returns to in-person learning, in-season sports can resume its schedule.

Oxford and Lafayette saw their volleyball and football schedules affected on Monday due to South Panola shifting to virtual learning for two weeks. The Commodores lost their volleyball match against the Tigers on Monday as well as Friday’s football jamboree game scheduled in Batesville.

The Chargers were scheduled to play South Panola on Sept. 3 in the second week of the football season, but that game has been canceled due to the Tigers football team in quarantine and unable to practice. Oxford is currently looking for a new team to play on that date.