Local sports have taken the first steps toward returning to action. What and when the next steps will be has yet to be determined.
On March 13, growing concerns over the coronavirus brought a stop to spring sports practices for two weeks. Teams expected to resume the schedule on March 30, but the pandemic ended the spring season for good, as well as all other on-campus activities.
Coaches and players have been on their own since then, but last week, the Virginia High School League and the Virginia Department of Education allowed off-season activities to resume on a limited basis.
Professional sports are looking for ways to reopen their seasons. College teams and conferences have announced their intention to resume play in some fashion.
Dirk Davis, Floyd’s junior varsity golf coach, said, "Golf is played in foursomes and the course is spread out over hundreds of acres. The only real issue with distancing would be with traveling to the matches.
"Our parent and fan support is probably better than any team we play against," he said. "Even then you only have about 12 to 15 people spread out across the course."
Davis said that in addition to the players on the Junior Tour, "I've seen a lot of other players out on the course. They've really been working hard."
Football coach Winfred Beale said the high school’s weight room is now open. "We can only have nine people in the room at a time, and we have to observe distancing and clean all the equipment.
"The Virginia High School League Executive Committee is meeting June 25th," he said. "We should find out a little more then."
To date, there have been several options floated beyond beginning fall football practice and games in the usual spot on the calendar. These options include moving the start of practice from August to September and starting the game schedule in mid-September. The most severe scenario calls for practice starting in mid-October and the first games starting in November.
This last option would mean slashing games from the regular season schedule, as well as reducing the number of postseason playoff rounds. There has even been some thought to delaying football until the spring of 2021.
Like golf, cross country is a sport contested in wide open spaces. Other than the congestion at the starting line, and to a lesser extent, the finish line, most races are conducted over a three-mile course.
Two former Lady Buff runners are planning to compete in college this fall. Solace Church will be on the team at Longwood and Hannah Altizer will run at Concord.
Church’s older brother Sage will be in his third year on the Longwood squad this year.
The Floyd County cross country team began open runs and training on June 22.
Volleyball is in a unique position in that it is the only fall season sport contested indoors. Coach Carrie Chaffin Dalton's team last year made the state tournament for only the third time in school history.
"Players have been working on their own with position specific skills, conditioning and footwork." she said. "It's been a challenge to provide workouts because volleyball is such a team sport."
Winter sports will be problematic because they're all indoors at close quarters. Basketball coach Brian Harman noted that the gyms are open now, but "spacing is an issue. We have six teams (three boys, three girls) and most of the teams will have 12 or more players; who do you tell to sit out?
"In the past, when we have open gyms, we might have 60 players in the gym at one time," he said. "We have a phone app for workouts and players have been doing things on their own."
Harman sees some possible structural changes in high school sports. "Virginia seems to be a lot stricter than some of the neighboring states, so we might see some athletes transferring to those states to play their senior year, or they may do homeschooling."
The biggest Floyd County High School sporting event of the year is the Chance Harman Classic, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for scholarships and cancer research. Teams and college coaches from all over the country attend, and the gym is packed for certain games.
"Right now, that's up in the air, too," Harman said. "The last two years we've had the games filmed and offered on a subscription basis, and we may be headed that way.
"Everyone wants to get back to normal," he said. "But we're dealing with a new normal now."