On Monday, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association pushed its executive board meeting to today pending a Tuesday news conference where Gov. Jay Inslee was set to announce new guidelines concerning COVID-19.
Inslee did unveil a new ecomonic reopening plan, but it didn’t really touch much on interscholastic activities in the Evergreen state.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean bad news is coming today from the WIAA and its plans to move forward with three condensed seasons of play.
The executive board is scheduled to review the schedules and make adjustments as necessary. When the updated calendar was released in the middle of November, winter sports was set to be the first season to begin competition, followed by a combination of fall/spring sports and then a traditional spring sports season. All seasons run about 90 to 100 days, with a regional culminating event instead of a state championship.
Season 2, the winter sports season, tentatively is set to begin Jan. 25 with gymnastics. The remainder of the sports — basketball, bowling, boys’ swimming and diving, and wrestling — begin Feb. 1. That season is set to conclude March 21. Season 3 — which includes cross country, volleyball and football among several sports — tentatively begins with football March 8, with the remainder of the sports starting March 15. The regional culminating events take place the week of April 26. The final season, Season 4 — which includes baseball, fastpitch softball and track, among others — tentatively is set to start the week of April 26 with culminating events the week of June 13.
Inslee outlined a more regionalized plan instead of a county-based plan that had been instituted since the state became the first epicenter of coronavirus cases in the United States.
Under the plan — called the Healthy Washington plan — the state is broken up into eight regions, and those regions must meet four metrics to advance to the next phase. Each region will begin in Phase 1. In order to advance to the next phase, regions must: show a 10 percent decreasing trend in case rates during the previous two-week period; a 10 percent decrease in COVID-19 hospital admission rates in the same 14-day period; an intensive care unit occupancy rate that’s at less than 90 percent; and a positivity rate of testing of less than 10 percent.
None of the regions currently meet the criteria to move to Phase 2, but Phase 1 does allow some resumption of activities that includes live entertainment with tight capacity restrictions as well as individual fitness training programs being eased. The state department of health will be examining data every Friday. Once in Phase 2, regions must meet three of the four criteria to remain in that phase.
The live entertainment portion will be limited to 10 ticketed guests, while the fitness training programs will be appointment-based with one client per 500 square feet allowed. Also allowed will be outdoor tennis instruction, gymnastics and no-contact martial arts, as long as it is limited to five athletes.
College and professional sports will be allowed to continue under the current protocols.
There have been more than 246,000 probable or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Washington, with almost 3,500 deaths in the state.
Walden may be reached at (208) 848-2258, email@example.com, or on Twitter at @waldo9939.