Yes, high school sports are expected to resume in the fall. But no, readers aren’t confident football will be among them.
Last Thursday Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal announced that schools, which closed in March because of the coronavirus outbreak, are scheduled to reopen in the fall. With that he said he expects sports to resume as well.
But football, with its large number of people involved and its heavy amount of physical contact, is the sport that perhaps lends itself least to recommendations about preventing the spread of coronavirus.
Therefore, this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll asked readers whether they thought high school football would be played in the fall.
POLL: Do you think there will be high school football in the fall? Full context, including a closer look at the situation, here: https://t.co/6SLdCz1xpc
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) June 15, 2020
Add up the votes from the poll on the blog and the poll posted to Twitter and 58% of the responders said they don’t think high school football will be played in the fall, while 42% said they think it will. That’s not an optimistic outlook.
We still have no idea where the WIAA, the state’s governing body for high school sports, stands on the subject. Reykdal said during his press conference that he believed it would be weeks before any guidance is announced regarding high school sports this fall.
The issue is further complicated by the fact that there is a wide range of where counties find themselves in the state’s four-phase reopening plan. Twelve counties with smaller populations have already advanced to Phase 3, while three counties that are still trying to contain the coronavirus outbreak remain in Phase 1. Snohomish County is currently in Phase 2.
And that’s significant, because on June 5 the state issued further guidance on what sporting activities are allowed in Phases 2 and 3. In Phase 3 teams can resume playing games, but the total gathering at a game cannot exceed 50 individuals. A high school football game, which includes two teams of around 50 players, dozens of coaches and a handful of officials, doesn’t qualify under those parameters.
Therefore, it’s likely counties will need to be in Phase 4 before there’s a chance for high school football to begin, and we may need every county in the state to reach that stage before the WIAA is prepared to move forward. And counties need to spend at least three weeks in a phase before moving onto the next.
The 2020-21 school year is scheduled to begin Sept. 2. As hard to believe as it may be, that’s less than 11 weeks away. So the clock is ticking on high school football for this fall.