According to a press release issued Wednesday, the OSAA is continuing to hold the line on the suspension of spring sports, but are not at this time cancelling any additional championship events. The OSAA Executive Board held an online meeting to discuss the latest developments regarding the COVID-19 situation.
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. Board member discussion centered around the latest information sent out from the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) earlier this week stating that there is a very real potential that students may not return to school this academic year. OSAA Executive Director Peter Weber says if Gov. Kate Brown 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.
He also says the OSAA has been in communication with all Spring state championship venues and shared potential challenges they are running into with the Board. In particular, Western Oregon University has shut down all of its athletic facilities until June 30 and will 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 and are 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 Dr. Mick Koester, Chief Medical Advisor and chair of the OSAA’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, to develop acclimatization guidelines that the Board approved to emphasize student safety if schools are able to reconvene this Spring. Included would be:
– 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
– continuing heat warnings as appropriate to weather and baseball pitch count limitations
– limiting the number of contests allowed in a week specific to each activity (more details to come later)
– emphasizing late afternoon starts and weekend contests when possible to limit loss of class time
The OSAA Executive Board has an online meeting scheduled for April 15 to discuss developments regarding this situation and take any action they deem necessary regarding Spring activities and state championships. The OSAA will post updated information to the website as well as send an update to all schools following that meeting.