WIAA suggests fall sports direction
June 18, 2020
Plans for fall high school sports took a step forward last week as the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) Executive Board set what is known as philosophical guidelines for the 2020-21 school year.
Meeting June 7 by teleconference, the board has laid out a plan to resume fall sports, if the state Department of Health and Governor's office allow – depending on phases of re-opening after COVID-19 shutdowns.
The WIAA intends to conduct a regular season and championships, for each fall sport. This would carry even if all schools in Washington are not allowed to participate.
“Where schools and programs can compete, we're gonna let them compete,” said Ken Lindgren, executive board member and longtime Oakesdale teacher, athletic director and coach. “We can't hold back all kids because of some.”
A scenario may arrive in which teams – or a whole league – in one county may play, while teams in the next county would not.
Each sport will be subject to individual restrictions. It is possible, for example, that volleyball would be allowed to be played but not football – with it's close contact, breathing and otherwise.
The parameters for the games are another fluid question.
“Are we gonna even let spectators in? We don't know this yet,” Lindgren said. “What about officials? Are we gonna have officials?”
Lindgren noted that many officials come from high-risk populations regarding the virus.
The executive board will meet again June 23 for a bi-weekly check-in, which is not an official meeting.
A target date of Sept. 7 has been set for the start of fall sports, Sept. 5 for football.
“From the DOH and the governor, we need direction from them,” Lindgren said. “We're putting this in real slow motion to make sure we get all the information to make the right decisions.”