Practices can begin Aug. 16 and contests Aug. 26 for activities and sports, including football, volleyball, cross-country and soccer. Committee member Jeff Clark, principal of the Oakland School District’s high school, described the calendar as “extremely optimistic,” though.
OSAA Executive Director Peter Weber said the board would adjust the schedule as dictated by COVID-19.
The board is still charting a path through this year’s COVID-19 complications. Earlier this school year, the board shortened and moved the usual sports seasons into the latter half of the school year to maintain three distinct seasons and to allow COVID-19 to cool enough to allow more sports to be played. Oregon was one of the last states to allow sanctioned school sports.
Season 1 allowed schools to offer whatever activities they could arrange under rules laid down by Gov. Kate Brown and the Oregon Health Authority. Seasons 2 and 3 had traditional fall and spring sports. Season 4, which starts May 10, includes basketball, wrestling and swimming.
New coronavirus county metric rules have lifted restrictions on indoor and outdoor full-contact sports and allowed some competitions without masks. But a recent rise in COVID-19 cases has also pushed more counties into the “extreme” risk level, which limits participation and spectator numbers and raises concern about traveling for games.
With looser rules providing more competition possibilities, the OSAA board considered whether it should sanction championship events for season 4. For seasons 2 and 3, the board did not sanction statewide championship contests but allowed schools to set up local or regional culminating weeks.
The association’s official sports year ends June 13, but its season 4 calendar stretches to June 26, creating overlap with summer club teams, camps and competitions. OSAA board members said that without championships, some schools may opt not to even have a season 4 because students will have graduated, started summer jobs or moved to other activities before the season ends.
The board will reconsider championships at its May 19 meeting. It will also consider allowing schools to opt out of the already-started season if the board decides not to sanction championship events.