WIAA sticks with school sports plan despite new Inslee recommendations

WIAA releases modified sports plan

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee recommends all in-person sports and extra curricular activities should be postponed or cancelled as schools start remotely in September, but the state’s school activities association has already released a modified sports schedule for the upcoming school year.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) announced a four season schedule for school sports that was developed and approved by the National Federation of High Schools, Governor Jay Inslee’s office, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) that is set to begin on September 7.

On Wednesday, Gov. Inslee held a press conference about the majority of schools in Washington starting remote learning in September. He said in-person activities for students should also be reconsidered.

“We also recommend cancelling or postponing any in-person extra curricular activities including sports and performing arts,” Inslee said.

His office already approved the WIAA four season plan and according to the association, the governor’s comments will not impact the fully-formed plan. Casey Johnson, a spokesperson with WIAA told KAPP-KVEW Thursday, the decision is up to school districts but the state and the WIAA Executive Board has provided some guidance.

“We are not necessarily changing the guidance we have laid out for return-to-activity protocols, as those were developed with the National Federation of High Schools, the Governor’s Office, OSPI and the DOH,” Johnson said, “With action our Executive Board has taken over the last several weeks, we have given schools the flexibility to still offer their fall sports during the newly formed WIAA Season 3 next spring.”

On Monday, the WIAA released the modified four season plan. The dates of each season are tentative depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting that period of time.

  • Season 1 (September 7 to November 1)
    • Cross country (alternate season)
    • Slowpitch softball (alternate season)
    • Golf (alternate season)
    • Tennis (alternate season)
  • Season 2 (December 28 to February 28)
    • Basketball
    • Bowling
    • Boys Swim & Dive
    • Gymnastics
    • Wrestling
  • Season 3 (March 1 to May 2)
    • Volleyball
    • Girls soccer
    • Boys soccer (1B/2B)
    • Football
    • Girls Swim & Dive
    • Cross country
    • Slowpitch softball
    • Cheerleading
    • Golf (alternate season)
    • Tennis (alternate season)
  • Season 3 (April 26 to June 27)
    • Tennis
    • Fastpitch softball
    • Track & Field
    • Baseball
    • Golf
    • Boys soccer (1A-4A)
    • Dance/drill

Football is the only sport to allow for an extra coaching period and pre-practice period. From September 28-November 30, the coaching period can include 20 football practices with 10 practices in pads with full contact. The period includes any practices conducted during the allowed summer coaching period. No coaching will be allowed from August 17- September 27. Team practices will also be allowed to start February 17 although football season doesn’t begin until March 1.

WIAA will also allow some schools to hold alternate seasons of golf and tennis to accommodate conflicting schedules. The sports can be offered in Season 1, Season 3 or Season 4.

Schools do not have to offer sports in the fall and can wait for alternate seasons offered in the spring. Mick Hoffman, Executive Director of WIAA said in a July 23 video announcement that schools will need to make the decision on what they want to do, they just have to follow the guidelines set forth by the state.

“We understand that this is a very difficult decision to make but we also understand that getting 20 to 30 students to an outdoor cross country event is much different than getting 2,000 into a high school,” Hoffman said.

In the video, he says WIAA is continuing to work with school officials through the fluid situation. More on WIAA modified guidelines can be found here.