As the fall sports season seems to be ever so slipping away for schools in Southern West Virginia, the next hopeful glint we can hope for is for winter sports to be unhindered.

Mingo County was deemed red Saturday night when the color coded map was updated.

When a school is in the red, no extracurricular activities of any kind are permitted.

As one coach jokingly said, “They really don’t even want you talking on the phone to each other if we’re red.”

As cases continue to spike in the state, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources reported 560 new Covid-19 cases as of 10am Thursday.

WVDHHR also reported eight new deaths related to the virus, bringing the death toll in the Mountain State to 480.

 Mingo and Mineral Counties are the only red places on the County Alert System Map. Mingo County has 708 cases, while Mineral sits at 294.

While we hope the virus doesn’t run over into basketball season, at present it looks like it may be the case.

If and when basketball can resume, what will it look like? How can the virus be controlled in a gymnasium? The WVSSAC will most certainly have to look at fan attendance as well. Will it be capped at a certain number? Or will only parents and the media be allowed in? It will be a slippery slope for sure.

Player safety will have to be the main concern. If there’s no way to ensure the kids’ safety, then the risk is too great.

The truly sad thing is, it’s the kids who have to pay. This is completely out of their control. And whether we actually realize it or not, it is affecting our children’s lives in a major way.

Think of how many scholarships the virus has cost kids nationwide. How many kids who had planned to go to the next level not only to play, but get a free education. An overwhelming majority of children from the mountains need some type of financial assistance to attend college. Many student-athletes in our region had planned on scholarships to help ease the burden of a college.

Hopefully, the powers that be can formulate some type of program where those kids have a chance to get the opportunities they have now missed.

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