The Governor’s Office and Washington State Department of Health issued new guidance for returning to education-based sports and activities, Tuesday, using the statistical benchmarks of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in a given county as well as the percentage of positive tests. The WIAA has used this guidance from the Department of Health to develop new general, as well as sport-specific, return-to-play guidelines which will replace those previously tied to phasing in the Governor’s Safe Start Plan. The Governor’s office has informed the WIAA that these guidelines must be followed and neither schools nor community sports programs have the authority to implement more lenient policies.
These revised guidelines give greater flexibility to school administrators to offer education-based athletics and activities and meet the demand of their students and communities. The WIAA Executive Board and staff are pleased with the work that has been done to allow students to be more involved with their schools, as participation in the school setting provides safer and more equitable opportunities for students, especially during this time. Staff will continue to work with decision-makers to evaluate participation in sports deemed high-risk by reviewing all data and documentation available in hopes it may be appropriate to qualify them as moderate risk.
County benchmarks will be used to determine which sports or activities are recommended to take place based on COVID-19 activity in the county. Each county’s status can be found on the Washington Risk Assessment Dashboard along with communicating directly with local health departments. These benchmarks mirror those issued by the Department of Health to aid schools in their decision-making process for models of in-person/remote learning.