As schools resume, one American favorite of autumn is missing this year: fall sports. Well, most fall sports. 

While the Virginia High School League (VHSL) has postponed public school fall sports until early spring, some private schools hope to get the ball rolling earlier. The Virginia Association of Christian Athletics (VACA), which includes Smith Mountain Christian Academy and several other private schools in the region, is currently allowing cross country and tennis to get underway and tentatively scheduled soccer and volleyball to begin on Oct. 10.

At SMLCA, which participates in cross country but not tennis, practices began in August, and the first meet – at home – is scheduled for Sept. 16. 

Mike Greathouse, the athletic director, explained that according to VACA’s plan, boys’ soccer and girls’ volleyball may begin practice on Sept. 23. With competitions starting in mid-October instead of mid-August as usual, the season will run until around Thanksgiving, he explained. 

This plan is VACA’s Plan A. Under it, basketball practices will commence after Thanksgiving, and games will begin on Jan. 4. Spring sports will start in early April and run through the end of the school year and perhaps into June.

The league is being cautious, though, and several precautions are in place, he stated. The teams have agreed to compete only in conference games this year and forgo the usual non-conference contests. VACA has set up a task force for monitoring and dealing with coronavirus-related issues.

“(By only competing with other schools in the association), we can keep track of things, and if any schools come down with COVID, we can cancel and reschedule games as needed,” Greathouse noted. “It’s a totally different world this year.” 

In the instance of a coronavirus case affecting a team, that school will report it to the league and will have a minimum 14-day waiting period before competing again to make sure there are no other cases.

There’s more to this story in the current issue of the Smith Mountain Eagle newspaper. Pick up a copy or subscribe at to view the full article in the print and/or e-edition version.

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