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OSAA returns Season 2 final week to schools

The Oregon School Activities Association won’t sanction championships for Season 2 sports, opting instead to return the sixth and final, or culminating, week to schools so they can organize events at their discretion.

The OSAA executive board had a work session Wednesday and received updates on recent guidance from Gov. Kate Brown’s office and the Oregon Health Authority.

The decision not to stage state championship events was announced in an email Thursday.

Season 2 is for traditional fall sports football, soccer, volleyball and cross-country. The three-week training window for football began Feb. 8. The other sports have one week of training, beginning Monday. Contests can start March 1.

The culminating week for Season 2 is April 5-11. Participation limitations will be adjusted to allow for additional contests in each activity the final week.

The announcement said the board discussed conducting large scale events during a pandemic.

“Differences between team and individual sports,” it read, “anticipated issues with establishing equitable qualifying procedures, district adopted travel restrictions, gathering size restrictions based on county risk level capacity limits, and impacts associated with schools forming regional pods were just a few of the topics discussed.”

The board said it did not want to put undue pressure on schools to participate in a statewide event that could place their students and school community at risk.

The OHA encourages restricting unnecessary travel between counties, the announcement read, especially when they are at different risk levels. Requiring schools to travel across the state with the potential for overnight stays for events is ill-advised.

Among the concerns was that some schools would not be able to start sports on time, others could have fragmented seasons due to outbreaks and others may be forced to shift seasons as a whole.

“The board has spent a lot of time on this over the last couple months,” OSAA executive director Peter Weber said in a story on osaa.org. “The realities of trying to conduct large events, given where things stand right now, didn’t seem advisable in their minds. A lot of different issues come into play.”

Returning the culminating week to the schools lengthens the already truncated season and provides additional participation opportunities for students, the board said.

“That would include subvarsity, etc. They would be able to participate that week,” Weber said.

The decision pertains only to Season 2. What transpires for Season 3 and 4 culminating weeks will be determined later.

Season 3 for baseball, softball, golf, tennis and track and field is April 12-May 23, and Season 4 for basketball, wrestling and swimming is May 17-June 27.

The board reaffirmed its support for conducting virtual events for cheerleading, dance/drill, solo music, band, orchestra, choir and speech. These events will take place later this year as currently scheduled on the OSAA calendar.

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