Vermont to Allow School Sports to Resume this Fall

Sports teams will be able to start practicing when school starts on Sept. 8 in Vermont

Vermont will allow all fall sports to resume when school reopens, Gov. Phil Scott announced Friday.

"Things will look much different, especially when it comes to high-contact sports," Scott said Friday. "This won't be a normal season, but our goal is to offer a path forward for each of these sports to give our kids some sense of normalcy."

Practice for sports, including cross country running, soccer, field hockey, football, cheer-leading, volleyball and golf, will start when schools are back in session on Sept. 8, according to Scott. The state is currently developing coronavirus policies for the season.

Scott also announced a $12 million financial assistance program to help childcare providers with losses and additional expenses associated with COVID-19, emphasizing the sector's "critical" role in supporting families.

Health Commissioner Mark Levine noted that the state hit a milestone of testing more than 100,000 people for coronavirus in Vermont, roughly 16% of the population. A total of 1,448 tests were positive as of Friday. Health officials reported one new fatality Thursday, bringing the death toll to 58. One person was hospitalized with COVID-19.

"Testing has been essential in helping us learn how much the virus is in our communities," Levine said. "And while testing is a valuable tool, it isn't what has kept so many people safe and healthy. You did that. Vermonters did that by staying home whenever possible, by wearing masks in public, and following all of the other prevention steps."

While the number of new cases in the state has remained low, nearly 150 Vermont inmates housed in a Mississippi prison have tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, the head of the Vermont Corrections Department announced Wednesday. Those inmates have been placed in medical isolation, according to Vermont Department of Corrections Commissioner Jim Baker.

Vermont houses 219 inmates at the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility in Tutwiler, Mississippi, because of a lack of capacity in its own prisons. Late last month, six inmates who were returned to Vermont from the private Mississippi prison tested positive when they arrived at the Rutland, Vermont, correctional facility. That prompted Vermont’s Corrections Department to order that the remaining Vermont inmates in Mississippi be tested.

Schools in the state are working on plans to reopen under three possible models: full remote learning, full in-class learning and a hybrid of the two.
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