Burley adjusts to overseeing sports during pandemic

Jonah Lee, Staff Reporter

Harrisonburg High School athletic director Brandon Burley deals with many different aspects of planning and carrying out HHS sports. Now, with COVID-19 playing a major factor in the decisions made regarding all sports, Burley has tackled new challenges.

“We’re improving each year, we provided new uniforms and new equipment for several teams [a couple years ago], and [we] hope to increase our numbers and participation in teams. We want to continue going in the right direction,” Burley said. “The more we can increase participation within our school community, the better off everyone is.”

Due to the pandemic and students attending school online rather than in person, Burley has faced new challenges trying to accommodate all athletes while still finding a way to allow them to play their respective sports.

“We don’t do pods greater than ten, that would include the coach. Pods [are] like your workout groups. If the weight room is open, and say you have 18 kids that want to come [in], then you have nine people in one pod and nine people in another because the ten people in that pod also include[s] the coach,”Burley said. “ [If] they’re doing exercise and conditioning work,  they’re [in] close groups  less than 10 feet, [then] they’re all going to be masked. [Also] we’re doing temperature [checks] and questionnaires.”

Due to COVID-19, regular duration of athletic seasons are getting cut back due to the Virginia High School League following certain precautions.

“[The soccer team is] going to play 60% of their season now versus the full season. Soccer [typically] has a sixteen game season [and now] they have a ten game season. Basketball can play fourteen games [but] normally they play twenty two games. The seasons will be condensed,” Burley said. 

While sports are on remote due to COVID-19, students have the opportunity to consider playing a sport taking into consideration things will work differently.

“The students have to do what they feel is best for them because we don’t want to put anybody in a position that feels unsafe. Some students are a little more cautious, with [COVID-19], but we want them to feel safe in what they’re doing. We want to promote them to be as involved as they can because these are their four years of high school,” Burley said.

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