The OSAA Executive Board decided this week to stay the course, continuing the current suspension of spring sports in line with the latest school closure directions from Oregon Governor Kate Brown, but without canceling any further state championships at this time.
“Up to this point, the board has aligned its decisions regarding OSAA’s education-based activities with the governor’s school closure orders and plans to continue on that path,” an update from the OSAA explained.
Board members discussed the recent guidance from the Oregon Department of Education the “strong possibility” that students may not return to school this academic year.
“If the governor orders that in-person student learning is shut down for the remainder of this school year, the OSAA will continue to align with the school closures and also cancel its spring activities and state championships,” the OSAA said.
OSAA staff has been in communication with all spring state championship venues and shared potential challenges they are running into.
In particular, Western Oregon University has shut down all of its athletic facilities until June 30 and would not be able to host the 3A, 2A, 1A Track and Field State Championships. Staff members are contacting other potential track venues to determine interest and availability.
Board members discussed the potential of shifting spring activities and state championships into the summer, but were reportedly “not supportive of that concept at this time.”
Concerns included increased staffing and personnel costs for school districts already facing uncertain financial impacts, scheduling issues regarding facility availability, plus student/family commitments for jobs, travel, etc.
The OSAA staff has been working with its chief medical adviser, Dr. Mick Koester, to develop “acclimatization guidelines” that the board approved to emphasize student safety if schools are able to reconvene this spring.
These guidelines would include an initial 7-day period with practices only, no contests; limiting practices to once per day and no more than three hours in length; maintaining the current requirement of no more than six consecutive days without a rest day; and limiting the number of contests allowed in a week specific to each activity; and emphasizing late afternoon starts and weekend contests when possible to limit loss of class time.
The OSAA Executive Board’s next online meeting is scheduled for April 15 to discuss developments and “take any action they deem necessary regarding spring activities and state championships.”
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