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High School marching bands will still march in West Virginia

Marching bands will be able to perform this fall at high school games in West Virginia, under restricted guidelines.
Marching bands will be able to perform this fall at high school games in West Virginia, under restricted guidelines.(WSAZ/Andrew Colegrove)
Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 6:14 PM EDT
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HARDY COUNTY, W. Va. (WHSV) — While high school bands may not take to the field in Virginia this fall, over in the mountain state, students will continue to play.

On Tuesday, Governor Jim Justice announced high school bands will be allowed to play this fall.

“As a coach and someone who is in our schools all the time, I appreciate how much our extracurricular activities, including our marching bands, mean to our students, parents, and communities,” Gov. Justice said. “Monday, the WVSSAC announced that our marching bands would not be able to perform at extracurricular activities this fall. This decision was made without my input. Today, I directed our medical experts to work with the WVSSAC and the Department of Education, and go back to the drawing board to find a safe way for our marching bands to do what they love to do: perform.”

He said the WVSSAC and medical experts have developed new guidelines for marching bands so they can perform on high school football fields.

These include band members wearing face masks when not playing, using instrument bell covers and separate seating for band parents.

Although high school bands are able to play, it does not mean all will decide to do so. Robert Thompson, band director of East Hardy High School, said his marching band will not be performing this fall.

He said teachers and staff have been preparing for the upcoming school year and did not really know what the marching season would look like.

He also said there are not many opportunities for the students to perform this year.

“The band competitions are canceled, most fall festivals and fairs and things that would have parades are canceled,” Thompson said. “So really you’re only left with your home football games because you can’t travel to away schools.”

The guidelines set up can also be difficult for many schools to work with.

“You have to have a designated band parent section and a designated football parent section, and the band has to be out of the bleachers, so move to the endzone or someplace else,” Thompson said.

The eligibility for each band to play varies as well with teams’ risks reevaluated every week.

Petersburg High School in Grant County said their marching band will take the field, but with limited movements.

Copyright 2020 WHSV. All rights reserved.

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