Local high school sports continue to be drastically impacted by the recent coronavirus outbreak.
Gov. Jay Inslee ordered Thursday afternoon that all public and private K-12 schools in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties must close for six weeks. The shutdown extends through April 24.
That means most of the area’s high school sports games and competitions likely won’t begin until after that, according to Northwest District athletic director Robert Polk.
“Most (local) districts aren’t competing right now — nor should we, just because of the need to maintain social distancing for people,” Polk said. “And so we probably won’t pick any (games or competitions) up until after April 24, and we don’t have a clear plan on exactly when we’ll start.”
It’s up to individual school districts to determine whether their high school teams are allowed to practice between now and April 24, Polk said.
“There wasn’t a clear direction (from the governor) about the extracurricular side,” Polk said. “So presently, school districts are making their own decisions with their superintendent leadership teams for practices. … Everybody’s kind of on their own.”
Spring sports include baseball, boys and girls golf, boys soccer, softball, girls tennis and boys and girls track.
March 2 was the first day of practice for spring sports across the state. The state championships are scheduled for the week of May 27-30.
Polk said the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association plans to hold a conference call next week to discuss various issues related to the status of spring sports.
Among those issues, Polk said, is the minimum 10-practice rule. The WIAA currently requires athletes to participate in a minimum of 10 practices in order to be eligible for competition. It’s unclear whether the number of practices accumulated up to this point would reset for athletes who aren’t allowed to practice for the next six weeks.
“That will be one of the topics of conversation,” Polk said. “The purpose of the 10-practice rule is to make sure kids are physically fit for competition. And so if we take a long layoff, we have to do something to make sure kids are ready to play. I just don’t know exactly what that will look like.”
Lake Stevens School District has canceled all sporting events and practices through April 24, according to its website.
Prior to the governor’s order Thursday, the Marysville and Edmonds school districts were already planning to close their schools through April 10 and not allow teams to practice during the shutdown.
Snohomish School District — which includes both Snohomish and Glacier Peak high schools — has suspended all sporting events and practices through at least March 22, according to Glacier Peak athletic director Kevin Judkins. After that, Judkins said the district will evaluate on a week-by-week basis as to whether teams can resume practicing.
“We’re planning to be closed for practices all the way through April 24,” Judkins said. “(But) what we wanted to do is leave the opportunity that on a week-by-week basis we can look at (whether) we want to restart them.”
Monroe School District also has suspended all sporting events and practices through at least March 22, according to its website.
“We are closely monitoring the schools in our WESCO league, as well as neighboring leagues to make an aligned decision for athletics,” the district said Thursday in an announcement on its website. “We anticipate an update by the middle of next week with further information in regards to what happens after the 22nd.”
Judkins said it’s highly unlikely Glacier Peak or Snohomish teams would compete in any games or events prior to April 24.
“I would say there’s potential,” he said, “but it would be slim at best.”