“It did look like it was coming back,” Dolan said. “I think it already started to peak and will begin to fall off.
The state swim meet is scheduled for Feb. 17-18 in Morgantown.
The other winter state competitions take place in March starting with wrestling March 3-5 in Huntington and continuing with girls basketball March 8-12 in Charleston and boys basketball March 15-19 in Charleston.
“We always have one eye on the present and keep an eye out to see what looks out long range,” Dolan said.
While not anticipating any issues, executive director Bernie Dolan, though, knows anything is possible given developments over the past two years.
“We got five weeks until the (state) swim meet. We’re hoping we can make it out without any real issues.”
“We stay in contact with the state people to see if any changes need to be made,” Dolan said.
For instance, Gov. Jim Justice, who, this week, was diagnosed with COVID-19, has been at the forefront in pausing and delaying sports seasons since the pandemic began in March of 2020.
The pandemic has had its effect on interscholastic athletics ever since, even into this winter when teams across the state, including the Eastern Panhandle, have had to go on hiatus for brief periods of time as their athletes have been stricken with COVID-19, the result of the omicron variant. The situation has been ongoing since the 2020 girls and boys state basketball tournaments were canceled at the onset of the pandemic.
The 2020 spring sports season were canceled, as well, and more issues arose in the fall as sectional soccer tournaments were scrapped in Berkeley County, and the Super Six football championships never happened. Then, the winter and spring sports seasons for 2021 were pushed back by the governor, with the final championship, the state baseball tournament, ending in late June.
As a new school year commenced, the fall sports season in West Virginia went off without a hitch. Dolan admitted the athletics board was “concerned through the fall season, but it seemed to right itself and play out without any problems.”
“An obvious question is will there be restrictions on attendance,” Dolan said. “That will be determined by local health departments.” Dolan also noted the WVSSAC also had “no control over” the color map that was in place last fall to determine what teams could play and which ones couldn’t play in particular counties, based on overall infection rates of the entire population in the area.
Dolan emphasized that different factors are at play impacting some decisions that are out of the hands of the WVSSAC, namely what state health officials, as well as local health departments determine. Dolan hopes that the postseason events for winter sports can follow suit.