It’s going to be fall this February. Well, maybe.
Following the announcement of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Healthy Washington recovery plan Tuesday, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association has adjusted the high school sports calendar once more.
Fall sports are now up first and scheduled to start practicing Feb. 1. Those sports consist of football, volleyball, girls soccer, cross country, boys tennis and girls swim and dive. Winter and spring sports are to be determined at an executive meeting Jan. 19.
The fall season is scheduled to last seven weeks with a regional culminating event to conclude the season.
“The change in guidelines allow all traditional fall sports to be played in Phase 2 while we still do not have a clear pathway to the high-risk indoor activities of basketball, competitive cheer and dance, and wrestling,” WIAA Executive Director Mick Hoffman said. “With that in mind, moving fall sports to Season 1 will hopefully provide the most opportunities to participate.”
High school athletes have been sidelined for about 10 months now since the beginning of the pandemic.
Any competition will depend on coronavirus transmission rates in the new regions that have been set by Inslee. Whatcom County is part of the north region which includes Skagit, Island and San Juan counties.
Phase 1 of Inslee’s new reopening plan allows for indoor low-risk sports, and outdoor low- and moderate-risk sports to practice only. Competition won’t be permitted until a region advances to Phase 2.
That leaves just under four weeks for a region to advance to Phase 2 before the fall season is scheduled to begin.
The WIAA said it will continue to work with the state Department of Health to gain more clarity on the new guidelines issued.
“We are hoping to receive more details that were not included in the governor’s announcement on Tuesday, particularly surrounding indoor sports and activities,” Hoffman said. “As we continue to gather more information and evaluate the new metrics, the board will be able to make better decisions about the remainder of the year.”