Petition regarding VPA's fall sports start-date surfaces

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A day after the Vermont Principals Association (VPA) recommended in an email that the start of fall sports throughout the state be delayed, a petition has surfaced online demanding the season begin on the original target date of Aug. 10.

Ron Wood created the petition on Change.org on Thursday evening, the same day the VPA email was sent out.

The petition, which had 606 signatures as of Friday evening, begins "The Vermont Principals Association (VPA) is going to delay fall high school sports until the middle of September if we allow it. Many people believe that after the middle of September the VPA will just cancel the season all together."

The VPA did not give a recommended state-wide start date for fall sports in the email, but rather suggested fall sports coincide with the first day of school. The VPA at this date has not issued a statement with plans of canceling the fall sports season.

"We are proposing that the Fall 2020 season begin on the first student day for a school. This means that we will not begin the fall season on August 10, but rather the end of August or early September depending on when a school begins its academic year," according to the email.

For local schools, these dates vary. The first day of school for Mount Anthony Union High School kids K-9 is Wednesday, August 26, with grades 10, 11 and 12 the next day. Burr and Burton's opening day of school is August 24. Students will come back to campus on August 31 at Stratton Mountain School and at Long Trail, the first day of school will be August 17.

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The petition continues to state that the VPA is confined to the state of Vermont, and teams do not travel as much as professional franchises. Teams do occasionally cross state lines and compete against Massachusetts, New York and New Hampshire schools, although the majority of games and matches are played between Vermont schools within the state.

A handful of professional sports leagues are set to begin or resume their seasons during July. The NHL playoffs are set to begin July 30, while the NBA regular season is scheduled to begin on that same date. The MLB is set to kick off their season either July 23 or 24.

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The petition also claims that the athletes competing against one another are all local to the state, unlike other major sports throughout the country.

"We are not college sports teams who have players on their teams from all over the country and the world for that matter," it continues.

"The VPA is out of touch and has ruled Vermont high school sports with an iron fist for far too long. It is time we take a stand and push back against the VPA and demand that high school fall sports begin on August 10th as scheduled. These kids have been through and lost enough already, let them play," the petition reads.

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The petition also generated dozens of comments in support of keeping the VPA fall season start-date at Aug. 10.

"Our kids have lost enough. Give them back their sports. 2020 seniors missed out on their final seasons of spring sports and championship games for winter sports. Don't take fall sports away from the 2021 seniors," wrote Danielle Sweeney.

Current athletes also voiced their opinion on the recommendation proposed by the VPA.

"It's my senior year. All I want is to be able to play the sports I love one last time," wrote Sydney Wood.

"It's many of our senior years and all we want to have a little normalcy during this crazy time. We would just like to play our last soccer season," wrote Sawyer Perkins.


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