A return to high school sports in Washington will have to wait another two weeks than anticipated.
The WIAA Executive Board announced Tuesday it is delaying the start of the fall high school sports season in Washington, marking its first in what could be several delays as the novel coronavirus continues to spread. Practices for the football season will start on Sept. 5. Practices for all other sports will start Sept. 7.
“The Board will continue to work with staff, member schools and state agencies to monitor the impact of COVID-19,” the WIAA said in a statement released after Tuesday’s executive board meeting.
Pushing the start date back roughly two weeks will force fall sports to condense its schedules accordingly. It is the WIAA’s top contingency plan. In June, it announced its plans to go forward with a season, even if schools across the state are closed to in-person learning.
This, of course, will only happen in counties that have slowed the spread of COVID-19 and progressed to advanced stages of Gov. Jay Inslee’s four-phase Safe Start reopening plan.
Under the state association’s return-to-play guidance, which was approved last month by the Governor’s office, the state superintendent and department of health, sports deemed “low risk” can return under phase three and “moderate risk” in phase four. It is believed that high-risk sports such as football are to return in phase four, though that was not included in the WIAA’s guidance.
Its next update to the fall sports timeline will come on July 22, the day after the next WIAA Executive Board meeting.
The WIAA said it will form a committee to create an adjusted fall schedule, which will be comprised of staff, executive board members and “select WIAA stakeholders.”
Here is its full statement:
During its July 7th meeting, the WIAA Executive Board took action to delay the start of the fall season until September 5th for football and September 7th for all other fall sports. The Board will continue to work with staff, member schools and state agencies to monitor the impact of COVID-19. The Board plans to make its next statement concerning the start of fall sports on July 22nd following its next scheduled meeting. In the interim, a committee of Board members, staff, and select WIAA stakeholders will work to create a fall schedule with the adjusted start dates.