OREGON — High school athletes competing in swimming, wrestling and basketball during the unfamiliar month of June became a possibility on Tuesday, April 20, when the office of Gov. Kate Brown announced the Oregon Health Authority is revising metrics to allow indoor full-contact sports, starting this weekend.
“Recognizing the importance of athletics for the physical and mental health of Oregon’s youth athletes and at the direction of the governor’s office, we’ve updated Oregon’s metrics for allowing the resumption of indoor full-contact sports, effective April 23,” read an OHA post Tuesday to its Twitter feed. “Sports organizations are required to follow health and safety measures for indoor full-contact sports to lessen the risk of COVID-19 infection. Additional guidance for indoor full-contact sports from OHA is forthcoming.”
Without that further guidance, and with no school Thursday and Friday this week throughout the Lincoln County School District for conferences, the district plans to meet early next week to consider the possibility of hosting indoor, full-contact sports previously forbidden under the state’s former metrics. That’s according to Majalise Tolan, LCSD athletic director.
Indoor sports considered low contact, such as volleyball, were allowed under previous OHA guidance, but full-contact indoor sports will be permitted to resume for the first time in more than a year.
What would make things tricky for the Lincoln County School District is if the OHA’s additional guidance for hosting indoor full-contact sports requires on-site rapid COVID-19 testing.
When the school district initially made the decision to opt out of sponsoring full-contact football, much of that was due to the requirement, at the time, to provide on-site COVID testing. When that testing was no longer required, the Lincoln County School District allowed member schools to play an abbreviated season.
“We did not anticipate that testing would become a requirement,” Tolan told the News-Times when the state still necessitated on-site testing. “We’re not a testing site, and we don’t want to be a testing site. We did not pursue an option for training for testing because we’re focused on the education and coaching of our youth.”
Oregon’s move to permit full-contact indoor sports comes despite a recent surge statewide of reported positive COVID-19 cases. Tuesday’s total of 977 confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 statewide was the highest single-day total recorded since the 1,194 cases reported by the OHA on Jan. 16. In contrast, locally there were no new reported cases on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week in Lincoln County, and just three cases on Monday.
If the Lincoln County School District chooses to opt in for “Season 4” sports — basketball, swimming and wrestling — the teams will hold their first practices Monday, May 10, with a regular season closing the week of June 14-19 and a culminating week for postseason competition running from June 21-26.
That schedule includes an overlap of Season 3 and Season 4 sports on the calendar between May 10 and May 22. Season 3 sports — track and field, golf, softball and baseball — play their final regular season week May 10-15 and have a culminating week May 17-22.
Keep reading the News-Times and follow us on social media for the latest news regarding Season 4 prep sports in LCSD schools.