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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  High school sports

Greater Spokane League announces staggered start for fall sports

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 15, 2021

The Greater Spokane League, in collaboration with the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, announced Friday adjustments to WIAA Season 1, comprised of traditional fall sports, slated to begin as early as Feb. 1.

Due to the weather, field conditions and COVID-19 numbers in the WIAA’s East Region, the league decided to stagger the starting dates for Season 1 sports .

“The Greater Spokane League is excited about the opportunity to get our students-athletes back in classrooms and participating in sports/activities,” the league stated via release.

Per WIAA guidance, only low-risk sports can conduct competitions while a region is in Phase 1. All other fall sports must wait to start competitions until a region is in Phase 2, but may begin limited practices during Phase 1.

“We are committed to bringing our athletes back in all three sports seasons in a safe manner by following the Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery guidelines,” the release stated.

In the East Region, cross country and girls swim/dive can start competitions in Phase 1 without spectators. All others (football, volleyball, girls soccer) must be in Phase 2.

GSL Season 1 sports seasons:

  • Volleyball and girls swim/dive: Feb. 8-March 28.
  • Football: Feb 15-April 11.
  • Girls soccer and cross country: Feb. 22-April 11.
  • Slowpitch softball: Moved to a later season not concurrent with fastpitch.

The East Region is in Phase 1 of the Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery. All four of the following COVID-19 metrics must be met in order to move from Phase 1 to Phase 2:

  • Decreasing trend (<10%) in two-week rate of COVID-19 cases per 100K population;
  • Decreasing trend (<10%) in two-week rate new COVID-19 hospital admission rates per 100K population;
  • ICU occupancy (total COVID-19 and non-COVID-19) of less than 90%;
  • COVID-19 test positivity rate of 10%.

According to publicly available data from the state department of health, Spokane County (one of nine in the East Region) has one of the state’s highest total number of COVID-19 cases, with more than 14,400 cases and more than 920 hospitalizations as of Thursday.

Despite that, the East Region seems to be moving in the right direction, with cases per 100K, hospital admissions and ICU occupancy trending downward.

The league will “continue to make adjustments based on the regional COVID metrics provided by the Washington State Department of Health.”

The WIAA is scheduled to meet next week to deliberate guidelines for higher-risk indoor sports. The GSL expects to announce its Seasons 2 and 3 after the WIAA provides guidance on those seasons.

More information can be found on the WIAA’s Healthy Washington Sport and Activity Guidelines (bit.ly/3sy1F2u).

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