A masked Methow Valley player goes for the hoop.

WINTHROP – Methow Valley School District has announced “Return to Play” COVID-19 protocols for student athletes.

Indoor practice proposals have been approved by Superintendent Tom Venable and the school board for girls and boys’ basketball teams, volleyball and baseball.

The actions come in recognition of the critical importance of athletics plays in the lives of youth, coupled with the thoughtful development of plans designed to keep coaches and student-athletes safe, said a district announcement.

“The decision to take this step forward is truly an act of trust in our students,” said board member Mary Anne Quigley. “Fortunately, it is an act of trust that we can feel comfortable with given the remarkable level of responsibility students have shown since returning to our buildings.”

Safety protocols include air purification upgrades, fans to move air, health screening, regular hand washing and sanitizing, social distancing as much as possible and wearing masks at all times when indoors, said Michael Wilbur, activities director.

“We are able to take this step because of elaborate safety protocols to mitigate risk of transmission of COVID,” he said. “These protocols involve multiple mitigating safety measures, layered in order to best protect the health and wellness of our coaches, student-athletes, and school community.”

“This has been a tough time for athletes but it’s very exciting to be getting back to sports,” said Dusty Patterson, a boys’ basketball player. “It’s a big step forward and we’re grateful for the community support that makes this possible.”

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