RENTON — Sports seasons are moving around again under the latest changes by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association executive board.
During a meeting Jan. 6, the board voted to amend its season schedule, moving traditional fall sports to WIAA Season 1 while choosing to review Seasons 2 and 3 at its Jan. 19 meeting.
WIAA Season 1 will span seven weeks, beginning with pre-competition practices Feb. 1 and ending on March 20. Sports scheduled for that season include cross country, football, golf (alternate), slowpitch softball, girls and 1B/2B boys’ soccer, tennis (alternate) and volleyball.
The change comes after Gov. Jay Inslee announced the “Healthy Washington — Roadmap to Recovery” plan last week.
The plan outlines a new set of guidelines and metrics for resumption of education-based athletics and activities in Washington because of COVID-19.
Sports will maintain their previously assigned risk levels. The level of participation for each activity will vary in the new Phase 1 and Phase 2 designations.
“The change in guidelines allows all traditional fall sports to be played in Phase 2 while we still do not have a clear pathway to the high-risk indoor activities of basketball, competitive cheer and dance, and wrestling” said WIAA Executive Director Mick Hoffman. “With that in mind, moving fall sports to Season 1 will hopefully provide the most opportunities to participate.”
While the executive board will provide a uniform season schedule concluding in regional culminating events, it has granted each WIAA league or district around the state the ability to reschedule seasons to best fit their local communities, said WIAA.
The association’s staff will continue to work with the state Department of Health to gain more clarity surrounding the guidelines issued Jan. 5.
“We are hoping to receive more details that were not included in the governor’s announcement on Tuesday, particularly surrounding indoor sports and activities,” Hoffman said. “As we continue to gather more information and evaluate the new metrics, the board will be able to make better decisions about the remainder of the year.”
In addition to changing the sports scheduled for WIAA Season 1, the board voted to extend the open coaching period at each school up until the day before the first season begins at that school.
School sports were suspended in March 2020 when schools were shut down because of COVID-19.