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WIAA releases new guidelines for return to athletics and activities

UPDATED: Tue., Oct. 6, 2020

Mead wide receiver Kaden Gardner is gang-tackled after picking up a first down against Central Valley during a GSL high school football game, Fri., Oct. 18, 2019, at Joe Albi Stadium.  (COLIN MULVANY)
Mead wide receiver Kaden Gardner is gang-tackled after picking up a first down against Central Valley during a GSL high school football game, Fri., Oct. 18, 2019, at Joe Albi Stadium. (COLIN MULVANY)
From wire reports

The Governor’s Office and Washington State Department of Health issued new guidance for returning to education-based sports and activities on Tuesday, using the statistical benchmarks of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in a given county, as well as the percentage of positive tests.

The WIAA has used this guidance from the Department of Health to develop new general, as well as sport-specific, return-to-play guidelines which will replace those previously tied to phasing in the Governor’s Safe Start Plan.

The Governor’s Office has informed the WIAA that these guidelines must be followed and neither schools nor community sports programs have the authority to implement more lenient policies.

County benchmarks for COVID-19 activity will be used to determine which sports or activities are recommended to take place.

The three tiers indicate low, moderate or high risk :

High

(Greater than 75 cases per 100,000 people for 14 days or greater than 5% positivity.)

Team practices and/or training can resume for low, medium and high-risk sports if players are limited to groups of six in separate parts of the field/court and separated by a buffer zone. Brief, close contact (e.g. 3-on-3 drills) is permitted. It is preferable for the groups of six to be stable over time. Attendance rosters should include group contact information. Each league, organization, or club must publish and follow a “return to play” safety plan. Any practice or training activities that can be done outdoors should be done outdoors.

  • Scrimmage, intrateam competitions, and league games or competition allowed for low-risk sports, but are discouraged if the school is not conducting some in-person learning.
  • No tournaments allowed.
  • No spectators allowed except for one parent/guardian/caregiver for each student-participant in uniform.

Moderate

(Greater than 25-75 cases per 100,000 people for 14 days and greater than 5% positivity.)

  • Scrimmage, intrateam competitions and league games allowed for both low and moderate-risk sporting activities. Scrimmage, intrateam competitions allowed for high-risk sporting activities.

Low

(Fewer than 25 cases per 100,000 people for 14 days and lower than 5% positivity.)

  • Scrimmage, intrateam competitions and league games allowed for low, moderate and high-risk sporting activities.
  • Tournaments allowed.
  • Spectators to follow gathering size limit of the Safe Start Plan.

A prohibition on tournaments for sporting activities does not include postseason, playoff, regional or state championship competitions sanctioned by a statewide interscholastic activities administrative and rule-making body that oversees competition in all counties in the state.

Each WIAA sport is classified into categories as follows:

Low-risk : Cross country, golf, sideline/no-contact cheerleading and dance, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field.

Moderate-risk : Baseball, bowling, gymnastics, soccer, softball, volleyball.

High-risk : Basketball, cheerleading with contact, dance with contact, football, wrestling.

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