Boys Freshman Football
Below are the results of the VHSL meeting from yesterday. It is important to note that the FCPS school board has final say in if/when/how we proceed. I will be in touch with off-season plans and more once FCPS makes its decision.
"The Virginia High School League made the historic decision Monday when the VHSL Executive Committee voted 34-1 during a video conference to postpone its upcoming fall sports season until March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
VHSL fall sports — football, volleyball, golf, cross country, field hockey and competitive cheer — are now scheduled from March 1 through May 1 as part of a condensed VHSL calendar for all its 2020-21 athletics:
Season 1 (basketball, wrestling, swimming, indoor track and field) — Dec. 14-Feb. 20, with the first contest date set for Dec. 28.
Season 2 (football, volleyball, golf, cross country, field hockey, competitive cheer) — Feb. 15-May 1, with the first contest date set for March 1.
Season 3 (baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, tennis, outdoor track and field) — April 12-June 26, with the first contest date set for April 26."
Get ready for a historic freshman year. Go Bulldogs!
Good afternoon Bulldog family. Today the VHSL held a meeting to determine the availability of sports for the upcoming school year. Below is a summary report posted by Vernon Freeman, Jr. of CBS 6 News Richmond:
“High school football with not be played in Virginia this fall due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Virginia High School League (VHSL).
The organization says they will decide the fate of the 2020 fall sports season on July 27. Football in the fall is not included in any of the three models under consideration.
- Model 1: Only golf and cross country in the fall. All other fall sports canceled.
- Model 2: Spring sports (except lacrosse) being shifted to the fall and vice versa
- Model 3: All sports played in truncated seasons from Dec. 14-June 26.
- Model 3: Winter Sports would be held Dec. 14-Feb. 20 (First play date: 12/28). Fall Sports would be held Feb. 15-May 1 (First play date: 3/1); Spring Sports would be held April 12-June 26 (First play date: 4/26).
There is no word if football will be considered for the winter and spring months.”
Model 2 & 3 are the only options that appear to offer the availability of football during the coming school year. We will know which option becomes available after the 7/27 meeting. After that meeting, I am sure that the FCPS school board will have to convene to approve of the recommendation. At any case, this does confirm that our August 3 date is canceled, along with all previously scheduled fall 2020 games. Adoption of Model 2, could possibly bring a conflict between athletes who wish to play both lacrosse and football. Adoption of Model 3 would only create conflict during a playoff extension of preceding seasons which would only impact freshman who make a varsity sport as there are no playoffs for levels other than varsity. Adoption of any of these models may conflict with “travel teams” so please consider this while planning how your family wishes to proceed through June 2021.
Adoption of these models also brings into consideration previous semester’s grades. Under normal conditions, freshmen are exempt from the VHSL eligibility requirement of passing at least 5 classes during the previous semester since they were not enrolled in high school for any semester prior to the fall sports season. If our season is pushed back to the spring semester, then this eligibility requirement could be enacted. Accordingly, I wish to communicate that the transition to high school is challenging enough for freshmen under “normal” conditions and, at times, results in grades lagging. Undoubtedly, this challenge is going to be even more daunting under the FCPS reopening plan. Please, make every effort to have necessary conversations or reach out to me for guidance. All students this year will face many challenges additional with reduced in-person instructional time. Students who come from Middle School and did not experience regular expectations of at home graded assignments and regular expectations for class preparation will be particularly challenged to regulate their schedules in such a way that academic achievement is not compromised. Please know that I am here to offer support and guidance in this area, and that proper planning and preparation will be vital to easing this transition.
Though not ideal, an adoption of model 2 or 3 provides a unique opportunity that I have long wished for to prepare students for playing high school football. In the scenario that a plan is adopted where football will exist after the winter sports season, I highly recommend consideration of joining our wrestling team, assuming it is an approved option. The head wrestling coach, Keith Sholders, is also one of Westfield’s Freshman Football coaches and 9th grade P.E./Health teachers. Regardless of prior experience, the mental and physical requirements of wrestling will result in athletes being in optimal mental and physical condition for an initial year of high school football and will introduce them to the challenge of high school athletics in ways, that in my opinion, cannot be replicated.
In summary, please consider the following:
1-High school football remains unscheduled and unapproved at this point. August 3, 2020 commencement is canceled and authorization for rescheduling is pending.
2-Academic readiness and performance will be more challenging, and possibly more impactful, for students who are considering playing high school sports this year as many of them may not exist until 1st semester grades have been calculated and if seasons begin before calculation and end after calculation of semester grades, the calculation of those grades will impact eligibility for completion of that season. (This is normal for regularly scheduled winter sports).
3-VHSL physical forms and concussion education forms, and concussion education forms can still be collected and emailed/mailed to the Director of Student Activities, Terri Towle, at firstname.lastname@example.org and will be good through June 30, 2021. These forms allow participation in all pending seasons. *The fee associated with the physical would only be lost in the case of cancellation of all high school sports for the entire school year.
4-I do not recommend purchase of any football equipment at this time (cleats, girdles, mouthguards) as athletes will likely grow between now and a potential later/February start date.
5-Plan for how you want to prioritize potential conflicts with winter/spring travel teams or the Westfield Lacrosse team (as proposed by some of the current options).
6-Football off-season conditioning is currently not available at the high school due to: closure of school buildings/weight rooms, requirements that prohibit any school equipment, enforce 6 foot social distancing, require temperature checks, staggered arrival times, and limit the size of groups that are below our interested numbers of athletes.
7-Strongly consider participation in our wrestling program regardless of previous experience. Much like football, the level of competition and mental/physical requirements will prepare you for a higher level of performance in high school academics and athletics. This current arrangement presents an opportunity that many of you may have never considered, but will certainly pay off if taken advantage of.
8-We are optimistic that we will have a season, and while we are disappointed not to get started in August, we look forward to a potential spring season that will create a lifetime of great memories and build a foundation for a wonderful high school experience for students and parents.
9-July 27, the VHSL is scheduled to decide which option will be adopted, and the FCPS school board will have the final decision making authority on how we will proceed at Westfield.
10-This will be my 15th year working with freshman in the classroom and on the field. Please do not hesitate to contact me at any time for your academic or athletic questions. I hope to be teaching in the building this fall and will have multiple sections of freshman World History Honors so will see some of you soon. Regardless of the restrictions, my experiences thus far with the class of 2024 give me great optimism. Go Bulldogs!
Greetings Bulldog Family!
First, I sincerely hope that this communication finds you and your loved ones well. I know “well” is more relative than ever. Not only do we all share the stress of our rising freshman class acclimating to their first year of high school under these most extreme of conditions, but also the uncertainty of the looming fall athletic season. This past Monday marked the countdown of the final month before our 2020-2021 season is/was scheduled to officially begin. August 3, 2020 remains the scheduled date, but this is not due to any clearly defined policies from our local or state governments/agencies. Instead, August 3 remains the scheduled date due to a lack of information on the future of high school athletics and extracurricular activities. I have been hesitant to send any communication until I received official authorization and scheduling but decided that I owed better transparency to you than I have been provided myself.
For those of you who have been following the nation-wide ongoing struggle in decision making on how to restart classrooms this fall, you can probably guess that extracurricular activities are not prioritized as they offer more of the same problems as in-person instruction. Hence, dealing with or, coming to conclusions about extracurricular activities do not alleviate any of these problems, they just bring additional questions and concerns that, as of today July 9, 2020, not only have high schools been unable to answer, but also collegiate and professional sports leagues. Some of you have contacted me with questions about summer workouts and preparation of paperwork leading up to August 3. What I share with you now is from my own reasoning and has not been communicated from anyone else or any higher authority. I do not wish to speculate on information that I do not have, but do wish to keep you as up to date as possible.
Will our football season begin on time?
I do not know for certain, but recent events such as restrictions requiring no physical contact and strict social distancing under the current “phase of reopening” lead me to believe that inevitably the answer is No. This does not mean that August 3 is still not a possible date for us to begin conditioning workouts adhering to the current level of reopening protocols, but if those protocols are still in effect August 3, then it stands to reason that permitted contact days will not be available in enough time to begin our actual scrimmage and game season on time. There are multiple options that are being rumored such as beginning later in the fall or even moving the fall seasons to next spring. Based on today’s date, no official announcement has been made, but due to the pace at which we are moving, I would guess that the most optimistic of timelines is to begin non-football specific activities on August 3 and move into September with eliminated social distancing restrictions, thus allowing inter-school games to begin sometime in October with some sort of reduced schedule. More realistically, without major shifts in policy in the next three weeks, the current social distancing restrictions, cancellation of fall sports by the collegiate Ivy League, and remaining uncertainty surrounding restarting classroom instruction lead me to believe that August 3 may be at best moved to later in the fall. Again, it is important to note that there has been no announcement and I do not know when to expect one. The Virginia High School League (VHSL) is meeting on July 15, 2020 to further discuss the fall season which could result in no action, a delayed start to the season, cancellation of fall activities, or adjustment to all seasons. I hope to have more clarification after this meeting.
How should parents/students prepare?
Currently there is paperwork available to be completed on our athletics website (link here: https://www.westfieldathletics.org/main/teamlinks/id/4054/seasonId/4555572 .) This paperwork will be necessary and allow you to be ready to participate if/when our season begins. It is possible further “Covid related” paperwork would be necessary as the season approaches, but I do not have word on that yet. The VHSL Physical Form is good through June 30, 2021 so while there is a fee associated with this exam, the duration of its effectiveness provides the necessary flexibility for your student to participate in other sports at Westfield and this fee would only be lost in the case of a year long cancellation of sports. Please take this into consideration. Any paperwork can be completed ASAP and delivered in-person, by mail, or by fax to our Activities Department. Physicals and concussion education can be emailed directly to Terri Towle, our Director of Student Activities: email@example.com or mailed to Westfield High School Att. Terri Towle 4700 Stonecroft Blvd. Chantilly, VA 20151. At this time, my recommendation is to complete all necessary forms and secure a hard copy of them in a folder/safe place while awaiting a start date announcement.
With the exception of footwear (molded cleats preferred due to athletic turf), WHS will provide all uniforms and protective equipment to each player. It is important to note that supplies may be disrupted so if/when equipment distribution is available, I advise making every effort to be punctual.
In recent years some football equipment such as football gloves, mouthguards, and football girdles have become increasingly popular for individual purchase from an athletic store. Though NOT REQUIRED to be purchased, girdles (5 piece-without knee pads or 7 piece-includes knee pads) have become popular items due to having the conveniences of less equipment to keep up with (we will provide all 7 lower-body pads individually or just 2 knee pads for those who bring a 5 piece girdle), as well as a girdle offering a better customized feel for the players to be easily worn under both practice and game pants. Due to the uncertainty of when our season may begin, I urge you to consider the growth spurt age of your student to understand that anything purchased in July or August may not fit by a potential spring start date in February or March, and the potential delay or cancelation of the sport should be considered before making any purchases.
Medical Equipment/Water Bottle:
It is very likely that all athletes will be asked to provide their own athletic water bottle for each day of participation. This is something that can be purchased now if not already owned and should hold approximately 32 oz. of water.
For those who wear glasses, it is strongly advised to seek a vision expert to explore alternative equipment such as sports glasses/goggles or contact lenses. For those who use other medical equipment such as epi-pens for conditions such as allergies or inhalers for conditions such as asthma, it is strongly recommended to have an additional supply that can be stored with our Certified Athletic Trainers and you consult your physician about your intention of playing football while likely under some level of existence of Covid.
For those of you who have scheduling conflicts due to other summer, fall, winter, or spring sports you may play for teams that are not regulated by the Virginia High School League (VHSL), I would advise a full commitment to those teams due to the uncertainty of high school sports while evaluating and reevaluating your preference if/when high school sports resume and clearly communicating this to your travel coach/team.
Off Season Conditioning:
For those of you who have access to workout facilities, we always advise that you do your best to stay in top physical condition. Diet, swimming, biking, running, weightlifting, or other aerobic activity is key to a healthy lifestyle and is always promoted. Due to current restrictions, there is just no reasonable path forward to provide on-site conditioning activities.
The Westfield Freshman Football Coaching Staff has completed our preseason meeting and preparation schedule and is awaiting guidance (the green light) form our governing bodies. As of today, we have no specific guidance on if/when we will be able to proceed with large group football-based activities. Our season is scheduled to begin August 3, 2020 at 2 pm at Westfield High School. By or on that date, all necessary paperwork must be submitted, and students should arrive in shorts, t-shirts, and molded football cleats to begin our heat acclimation 3-day period before adding shoulder pads for an additional 2 days and then full-pad practices. However, as of today, due to the lack of decisive action/communication from officials, my advice is to review the information provided here and proceed as best suited for your family. At Westfield we prepare like bulldogs, which means prepare not only for the expected, but also for the unexpected so while we are prepared to go August 3, we are also preparing for alternative dates of commencement, which could involve Spring of 2021. I promise to send an email and post updates immediately on our athletics website: westfieldathletics.org (drop down fall sports, then football, then freshman football).
Please feel free to share this communication with anyone you know who is interested, and please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org . As teachers, coaches, and members of the community we miss the honor of working with our Bulldog family and look forward to that time. Until that day, stay safe, stay healthy, and stay Bulldogs. Go Bulldogs!
Good morning Bulldog Family! First, I want to share my sincere best wishes to everyone and hope that you are successfully completing your school year. Second, I want to emphasize that while sports play an enormous role in society, the wellbeing of all of our global citizens is primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary, and beyond. With this in mind, I wanted to provide my current thoughts on the upcoming season as states begin to reopen. Due to the governor's order that school buildings and grounds remain closed into June, last week the VHSL announced that it has cancelled all summer workouts and camps. It is important to note, as we have continuously been reminded, that this is a very fluid situation and everything is subject to change. I don't expect to know anything for certain until the governor and local authorities make a decision about the fall semester and whether or not school begins on time.
I am aware that the NFL is testing COVID-19 mask materials for their facemasks and follow the debates going on in college about whether or not they expect to have a football season, so definitely have concerns about how all of this will impact our season. Impacts from this pandemic have been extensive from industries that manufacture, test, supply, and ship equipment, funding for school activities, social distancing, high risk aged officials and coaches, athletes with potential preexisting health conditions, symptom testing and reporting are just some of the additional considerations that must be resolved legislatively. In the face of all of these uncertainties, our coaching staff has been holding meetings since April to prepare for the upcoming season as “normal” through virtual meetings. I have contacted our Director of Student Activities about the potential to host virtual summer camps for players in response to the announcement this week from the VHSL.
The focus right now is on finishing the school year and all of the administrative challenges that doing so involves so, combined with awaiting government guidelines, any further details are pending. At this time, I can only share our staff's approach with you which is to prepare mentally and physically for fall sports to begin as currently scheduled on August 3. Our first daily practice is scheduled from 2:00-6:30 pm at Westfield High School and we will be ready to adjust as further guidelines are revealed. Our stadium field has been replaced with a beautiful brand new turf and we greatly look forward to opening it with a wonderful season! As always, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time. Go Bulldogs!