Goskagit

The state governing body of high school sports has revised how sports will be brought back.

The state will now be divided into three regions, with Skagit County schools playing in a region that runs from Seattle to the Canadian border.

In order for any sport to be played, at least 50% of the schools in a region must meet their local COVID-19 metrics that allow teams to play.

And if the 50% threshold can’t be reached, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Executive Board is giving the regions the option of moving specific sports to a season later in the school year.

"The goal is regionalized flexibility," Sedro-Woolley Athletic Director Jerry Gardner said. "That is what the Executive Board is trying to do with the plan. ... These aren't arbitrary decision, these are data-driven decisions based on surveys."

The regional plan casts a shadow over the likelihood of state tournaments in any sport this year.

"The priority is not in the culminating events," Gardner said. "It's more about if there is a region that can have some sports that can go, then based on all the criteria we have swirling around us, if as a region we can come up with a way to make that work, then we have a little more freedom to do that."

Local athletic directors now meet weekly instead of monthly. Gardner assumes a discussion on this latest plan to return to play will be on an agenda in the near future.

"There's a lot to do," he said. "There are a lot of moving parts as to what the Executive Board is recommending. And one thing about the Executive Board at the WIAA level is they listen. They have done a good job of that."

The soonest the current WIAA calendar has sports starting is Jan. 4, when basketball, wrestling and boys' swimming may begin.

— Reporter Vince Richardson: 360-416-2181, vrichardson@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter:@goskagit, Facebook.com/VinceReports/

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