Itemizer-Observer staff report

WILSONVILLE — Fans of fall high school sports — football, volleyball, soccer and cross-country — will have to wait until spring to see their teams favorite compete, according to Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) 2020-21 calendar approved last week.

Falls sports will begin in March, after winter and spring sports seasons. All seasons will be shorter, and competitions won’t begin until January. The fall season will end June 27.

“Today’s decisions by the Executive Board provide a framework to maximize the potential opportunity for students in Oregon to participate in three seasons during the 2020-21 school year,” said Peter Weber, OSAA Executive Director, in a news release about the decision.

The traditional fall season, starting on Aug. 31, will be reserved for practices only.

The OSAA board also voted to waive current out-of-season coaching policies to allow for student participation during the fall. Participation will be at the discretion of school districts, and in accordance with directives from the Governor’s Office, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Oregon Department of Education (ODE).

 “The Board recognized that a one size fits all approach isn’t what’s best for students across the state,” Weber said. “By waiving policy to allow regional participation this Fall, local school districts will have the discretion for participation in those areas that are able to do so safely per state directives.”

The OSAA board approved the calendar after the state released reopening metrics for schools.

“These metrics will result in nearly all OSAA member high schools starting in a Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) format this Fall which presents challenges for the resumption of school activities,” the OSAA release said. “Shifting the season calendar later in the school year provides additional time for more schools to return to a hybrid or on-site learning format while providing flexibility for local school districts to make decisions this Fall that are best for their school communities as health metrics and state guidance in this area continues to develop.”

 The calendar provides for three distinct seasons from late December to late June with limited overlap between seasons.

Winter activities will take place in January and February, followed by fall activities in March and April, with spring activities occurring in May and June.

Each season will feature a 7-week regular season, with adjusted contest limitations, followed by an OSAA playoff or championship. Specific plans for championship events will be developed in conjunction with member schools in the coming months in alignment with large group gathering guidelines issued by the state.

The year will officially begin on Aug. 31, with a season that may include conditioning, practices and interscholastic competitions in those permitted activities provided schools adhere to OSAA policies.

 “The OSAA will continue to work with the Governor’s Office, OHA, and ODE, along with our Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) to provide information to member schools,” the release said. “Guidance from these entities continues to evolve, along with the pandemic itself, and will impact future OSAA decisions regarding the 2020-21 school year.”

 For more information, visit http://www.osaa.org/coronavirus for the latest regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

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