If high school sports are played this fall, they'll get started later than first expected.
The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association has announced a two-week delay for the start of the fall season. During its meeting on July 7, the Executive Board for the state governing body delayed the start of the season until Sept. 5 for football and Sept. 7 for other sports. Those are the dates practices can begin. The seasons originally were slated to begin Aug. 19 and Aug. 24.
Competitions can begin Sept. 18.
More information will likely come on July 22, after the board's next meeting. The WIAA said staff, board members and others will work to create new schedules given the just-announced delay.
Early season games that will be rescheduled or canceled will likely include Mount Vernon at Sedro-Woolley football, a nonconference matchup originally scheduled for Sept. 4; La Conner at Sehome volleyball, the first regular-season game for the defending champion Braves, originally scheduled for Sept. 8; and Sedro-Woolley at Burlington-Edison girls' soccer, the season opener for both, originally slated for Sept. 10.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still a part of daily life, athletic directors, coaches and athletes have had to keep track of a number of new guidelines — and endure a large dose of uncertainty — as fall approaches. The previous spring's sports were canceled, and the return of prep sports is now governed by guidelines from sources including Gov. Jay Inslee's Safe Start plan, WIAA's own guidelines and information from local health agencies.
Even when sports begin, they may look very different with frequent temperature-taking, strictly enforced social distancing and a host of other measures. The WIAA has classified sports as "high," "moderate" and "low" risk based on risk of infection; sports in all three categories are played in the fall.
Skagit County's athletic directors have worked closely to make consistent guidelines for sports in the county. Some sports-related activity will be permitted to begin once the county advances to Phase 3 under the Safe Start plan.