But final say-so could be up to state health department

  RENTON — It’s probably going to look different than normal, but the early word is there will be a fall sports season — if the state Department of Health allows it.

  At its meeting early last week, the Executive Board of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association set guidelines for returning to sports play at the start of the 2020-21 school year. 

  The guidelines are given on a sport-by-sport basis starting with those of the fall season. For now, the WIAA intends for fall sports practices to start on time. Football is scheduled to start turnouts Aug. 19 and all other fall sports Aug. 24. 

  The WIAA plans for the fall season to open on time, but also has stand-by plans for a late Sept. 5 start for football and Sept. 7 for all other sports.

  The association said it plans to conduct a prep season even if schools are still in distance learning, which could exclude some schools from participation. 

  “The WIAA intends to conduct a regular season and/or championships assuming the DOH supports the recommendation,” the organization said in a news release. “Although not ideal, the WIAA intends to conduct a regular season...even if all schools are not able to participate.” 

  It’s acknowledged that participation in fall sports will take place in a way that does not jeopardize the health and well-being of students or their communities. 

  Moving forward, the WIAA has created committees for each sport to determine more specifically the parameters of returning to play.

  The sports offered in fall are football, volleyball, cross country, boys tennis,  girls soccer and girls swimming.