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VWSD’s virtual students can still participate in sports, AD says

Students in the Vicksburg Warren School District who choose to attend virtual classes in the upcoming school year will still be eligible to participate in athletics and other extracurricular activities, VWSD athletic director Preston Nailor said.

In a Facebook post Friday, Nailor attempted to clarify the school district’s policy on extracurricular activities as schools prepare to reopen in August. The policy includes activities such as band and cheerleading in addition to sports. Students participating in extracurricular activities must still attend in-person practices with their teams.

Fall semester activities governed by the Mississippi High School Activities Association include football, volleyball, cheerleading, band, cross country and swimming.

“Those parents that decide to keep their children at home to learn virtually through grade results WILL be able to participate in sports for VWSD. Parents must find a way to get their children to and from practice each day if they decide to not attend the brick and mortar sessions,” Nailor wrote. “Only those sports that are in season will be allowed to practice after school. Students MUST attend face to face practice to participate in competitions.”

Nailor also noted in his post that the policy covers only those students who are taking online classes offered by the VWSD, and not those that are home-schooled and have withdrawn from VWSD enrollment.

“Students that reside in a MHSAA member school are eligible for participation if they have met all graduation, grade, and residency requirements,” Nailor wrote. “Based on rule 2.5.3 of the MHSAA handbook, ‘A student in a homebound or home-schooled program shall not be considered a bona fide student of a MHSAA member school.’ Which simply means if a student is not enrolled in a MHSAA member school they are not eligible for participation.

“If parents decide to do virtual learning under the VWSD model, their students will be able to represent their respective schools,” Nailor added.

The VWSD’s policy differs from some other school districts. On Friday, the Rankin County School District — which includes eight high schools — announced that its students who choose online classes in the 2020-21 school year will not be eligible to play sports in accordance with its reopening plan.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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