The fate of the next Spartan sports season may hinge on a May 3 announcement from the state.
That’s when state Department of Health officials and Gov. Jay Inslee will determine if Snohomish County will remain in Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan or drop back to Phase 2.
If the county falls back to Phase 2, high-risk sports such as basketball and wrestling won't be allowed to compete against other schools under the state’s current restrictions.
To remain in Phase 3, Snohomish County must have the rate of new COVID cases per 100,000 residents over 14 days below 200 — it most recently rose to 205 — and the rate of new COVID hospitalizations per 100,000 people per seven days below 5 — it most recently rose to 4.7.
Last month, three counties — Whitman, Cowlitz and Pierce — fell back to Phase 2. The state reassesses each county’s phase status every three weeks.
The next sports season is slated to run May 3 to June 12. However, if the county falls to Phase 2, the sports season will likely be pushed back a week to allow for the possibility of games late in the season, Stanwood High Athletic Director Tom Wilfong said.
“Even so, that would put us coming back after Memorial Day and just before graduation,” he said. “It really puts things in a bind.”
Starting last week, Stanwood High began requiring all student athletes to be COVID-19 tested at least weekly. The rapid testing, which gets results in about 25 minutes, happens prior to away sporting competitions and before boarding a bus or district vehicle.
“This decision (to start testing) is a result of recent concerns over spread of COVID-19 among athletes and/or surrounding athletic events,” according to a school letter to students and families. “We know generally that increased contact and proximity can increase the likelihood of transmission of COVID-19 among individuals. The prevention of the spread of COVID-19 is a continued focus of our district operations. In spite of this focus, however, COVID-19 exposures have caused the district to cancel multiple athletic seasons and competitions.”
The tests come from federal funding through Seattle Children’s Hospital and are administered by the school’s nurses, athletic personnel and screeners who have been trained by Seattle Children’s Hospital staff.