High school sports face another delay

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association delayed the start of high school sports once again.

Because of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, the WIAA pushed back the start of Season 2 from Dec. 28 to Feb. 1.

Season 1 was canceled earlier this year and its sports were redistributed to the other three seasons.

With the late start to Season 2, it and Seasons 3 and 4 will be trimmed to seven weeks and will finish with a regional championship tournament. All state tournaments have been canceled.

Season 2, which features the traditional winter sports (basketball, wrestling and boys swimming) will run Feb. 1 through March 20.

Season 3, which includes the traditional fall sports (football, volleyball, cross country, girls swimming, boys tennis and girls soccer) is set for March 15 through May 1.

The traditional spring sports (baseball, track, golf, softball, boys soccer, girls tennis and track and field) will be played in Season 4, April 28 through June 12.

“While the Executive Board approved the framework for each WIAA season, flexibility remains at the local level due to the protocols approved at the Nov. 2 meeting.” according to a WIAA press release from Wednesday, Nov. 18. “If less than 50 percent of schools in a classification are able to compete in a sport, in accordance with Department of Health Guidelines, the Executive Board will make an adjustment to the scheduled season in order to allow the chance for greater participation.”

The WIAA labeled each sport as either high, medium or low risk, depending on the amount of personal contact. Whether a team can compete will depend on if its county meets the safety standards set for each level.

For example, a county must have a rate of 25 cases or fewer per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate of less than 5 percent for teams within its boarders to play high-risk sports such as football and basketball.

Island County is at 60 cases per 100,000, with a rate of 4.6 percent positive tests over the past week.

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Oak Harbor girls softball team members are allowed to workout together under current COVID-19 restrictions, but are not yet allowed to return to formal practices and competition. School sports may resume this month if Island County and others in the North region can move into Phase 2. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
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