Charleston, W.Va. – Today, West Virginia Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch approved a waiver to West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) Policy 2436.10: Participation in Extracurricular Activities. The waiver allows middle and high school students more time to improve their grade point averages and become academically eligible to participate in extracurricular activities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the education of students statewide and throughout the country during the past year. The lack of consistent instructional delivery and the inability for students to regularly meet in-person with teachers, counselors, coaches and other school support personnel has affected the academic performance of thousands of students.

The waiver will allow those with grade point averages (GPAs) below 2.0 at the conclusion of the fall semester to continue to participate fully in extracurricular activities through March 19, 2021. Those who become academically eligible by that time will continue to participate; however, those who are academically ineligible as of that date will not be permitted to continue in extracurricular activities.

Traditionally, student records are reviewed each semester for eligibility purposes. Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA to be eligible to participate the following semester.

“Our students have experienced academic, social/emotional and developmental interruptions at levels we have never experienced before, and the impact has been undeniable,” said Superintendent Burch. “This waiver will allow them to return to some level of normalcy as a part of their team or club, give them the support of teachers and coaches; and allow them to reconnect to fellow classmates and team members. We hope, in turn, this will also allow them to regain their academic footing.”

Governor Jim Justice issued Executive Order No. 2-21 on January 11, 2021, permitting winter sports teams to begin practice on February 14, with competitions beginning March 3. Today’s waiver will allow academically ineligible student-athletes to fully participate during this period until March 19 when their academic eligibility will be reviewed.

“We understand the importance of athletics and extracurriculars in the lives of our children, and we want to give them every opportunity to experience academics, club activities and athletics because these activities play such an important part in their growth and development,” Superintendent Burch said. “Our goal is not to diminish the importance of academic achievement, but rather, to support it.”

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