By Marty Gordon
The Gardner-Webb at Radford University men’s basketball series that had been scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 14, and Friday, Jan. 15, was postponed due to a COVID-related pause in the Highlanders program. This comes on the heels of the Radford women’s program’s being temporarily shut down twice over the past two months.
The series, which had been slated for a national ESPN audience, will be rescheduled for later this season.
While the university as a whole had not commented on the status of individual players, staff and/or coaches, women’s head coach Mike McGuire admitted he had a COVID incident during their shutdown.
The men’s program showed some transparency in stating that Radford-native Quinton Morten-Robertson had been sitting out for the past two weeks as part of COVID protocol.
The percentage per population of positive COVID cases has been on a downward trend, but no one is predicting whether that will continue.
As of Wednesday, the Montgomery County public school system had hoped to finally begin winter sports this coming Monday, Jan. 18.
Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) are following the “Return to Play Criteria” approved late last year. In addition, they are using the Virginia High School Phase III Guidelines as they continue to see high numbers of positive cases that have not been trending down for the past two weeks.
“We continue to look at those numbers and monitor them as we move forward,” said Danny Knott, the school system’s Human Resource Director.
The “MCPS Return to Play Criteria” was approved by Region VI superintendents from Allegheny, Covington, Craig, Botetourt, Roanoke County, Roanoke City, Salem, Montgomery, Floyd, Franklin, Patrick, Henry, Martinsville, Pittsylvania and Danville.
A “Let Them Play” effort has gained momentum as a Facebook page has advocated for measures to change. Currently, Montgomery County athletes are allowed to practice, but none have seen competition as of yet.
The timetable comes at a critical point for winter sports as fall sports are scheduled to begin practice in early February.
Under the county plan, the school system looks at the numbers and determines on a weekly basis whether they are playing.
If and when Montgomery County sports do start up, basketball players will be required to wear masks during competition, making Montgomery one of only two localities to do so.
Under the current plan, the school system is requiring all competition participants to be screened including temperature checks before entering the school facility. Also, county schools will not allow spectators to attend athletic or academic competition.
In between any indoor jayvee and varsity competitions and middle school games, the gym will be cleared and sanitized.