Sports are returning to high schools across Lake County as the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) begins official competitions in March.
This comes almost seven months after school began locally. OSAA decided to delay the beginning of sports to allow more time for COVID restrictions to be loosened, and the maximum number of children to be attending in-person school. At the beginning of the school year many districts were in comprehensive distance learning and Lake County School District #7 (LCSD#7) was the largest district that had in-person instruction.
The first part of the year the OSAA allowed schools that were open to compete against each other, but more in scrimmages than official games. This allowed some sports that could not be played in spring 2020, such as softball and baseball, to play against other schools. Many times it was against schools that LCSD#7 teams would not normally face.
With the official calendar beginning, Lakeview High School (LHS) Athletic Dir. Christopher Rose addressed parents and student athletes at a mandatory meeting before the start of practices and games.
Rose told the crowd that the seasons will be much different, with fall sports happening during a different time than normal. Also the season will be much shorter — only six weeks with a opt-in culminating week.
“OSAA has not determined what the culminating week will look like. It could look like additional games, kind of like regionals,” said Rose.
Though what he knows for sure is that the culminating week will not include playoffs as there will be no playoffs this year.
While Lake County has been moving between low and moderate COVID risk tiers, Rose said that many of the games are against schools in higher risk tiers. This could mean that there will be more intensive contact tracing, rapid testing, and other procedures. He said that as long as the County is in either the moderate or low risk tier then fans can attend games.
While a schedule has been printed and worked on, he warned everyone that it is subject to change and he expects it to change as the counties change tiers every couple of weeks. If counties move up too high then they will not be able to participate, because only those schools that are at least in a hybrid model will be allowed to compete.
If the school has to be completely shut down due to COVID then they will not be allowed to compete in sports until the situation is under control.
Only recently did Oregon Gov. Kate Brown allow high school football to play; previously she had been holding the position that high-contact sports such as football not be allowed. She announced Wednesday, Feb. 10, that high school football would be allowed for districts in low and moderate risk counties, while districts in higher-risk counties had to be opened for in person instruction and take additional protocols to participate in sports.
Rose and Stratton are looking forward to the upcoming seasons as long as COVID cases are kept low.
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