Process for Returning to Sports and Activities
In an attempt to help answer questions and to clarify the steps needed for returning to sports and activities, the WIAA has outlined the following steps in partnership with the Washington Schools Risk Management Pool and Clear Risk after conversations with the Governor’s Office and Washington Department of Health (DOH).
What we Need to Return to Play:
1. Governor to recommend return to play
2. DOH to provide guidance on required steps to return to play
3. Risk management to review any new recommendation in response to Governor and DOH
4. School leadership to commit to play
a. Most would consider return to play once students are able to return to school even in a hybrid model
b. Coaches under collective bargaining agreements would need to support return to play
5. WIAA Executive Board to review current schedule with new recommendations.
It is important that everyone from government officials, to local school leadership, work together to create an environment for education-based athletics to return. Not only will that provide the safest path to competition, it is the only way to allow equitable opportunities for students in all sports around the state.
The WIAA staff and Executive Board will continue to develop a creative and flexible framework for practice and competition to resume as safely as possible. The Governor’s Office, DOH and OSPI stated they would periodically review guidelines as more information became available which could change the current recommendation of no extra-curricular activities if schools are providing primarily remote learning. Pending a change in guidance from those organizations, considerations for the WIAA Executive Board will include:
1. Do schools have the resources and ability to meet any new recommendations that may come from Governor’s Office and DOH?
2. Would a limited fall season provide more, or less, opportunity for a majority of WIAA participants?
a. Currently, the WIAA schedule provides for 7 regular-season contests in the spring plus one additional contest for schools that do not qualify to postseason
3. What would students gain by playing in the fall rather than the revised scheduled seasons?
4. What is a realistic start date for a fall season if recommendations and guidelines change? How much time is needed for students to return safely?
5. Would a late fall start disproportionately impact fall sports such as golf, tennis and cross country due to weather issues?
6. Allow competition between schools that desire to play contests during the open period currently scheduled September 28-November 30
The WIAA fully understands the desire to return to play. Education-based activities is a passion for those in our office as well as for athletic directors and coaches around the state. However, the WIAA’s top priority is the health and safety of student-participants while offering equitable opportunities to all students.