Inslee announces changes to COVID restrictions for sports

Inslee+announces+changes+to+COVID+restrictions+for+sports

Felix Galicia, Reporter

For the past couple months Bothell High School sports have seemed years away, but they may come back faster than some might think. On October 6th, Governor Jay Inslee loosened COVID-19 restrictions on many activities including youth sports. While the new restrictions don’t allow full contact and games for all youth sports in phase 2 counties, as some anticipated, the rules do allow certain sports to have full contact practice and games based on the COVID-19 infection rate in each county. 

According to governor Jay Inslee’s website, under the new ruling, sports are divided into 3 categories by risk: low risk sports (tennis, swimming, pickleball, golf, cross country, track and field, sideline/no-contact cheer and dance, and disc golf), moderate risk sports (softball, baseball, t-ball, soccer, futsal, volleyball, lacrosse, flag football, ultimate frisbee, ice hockey, cricket, gymnastics, crew, field hockey, and bowling), and high risk sports (football, rugby, wrestling, cheerleading and dance with contact, basketball, water polo, martial arts, and roller derby). 

In counties with infection rates of 75 or more new cases per 100,000 over 14 days or with over 5% of the county infected, low risk sports are allowed to have full contact games/competitions, while medium and high risk sports are allowed to practice in groups of 6 with minimal contact. In counties with infection rates of 25-50 new cases per 100,000 over 14 days and less than 5% of the county infected, medium and low risk sports are allowed to have full contact games/competitions, while high risk sports remain only allowed in groups of 6 with minimal contact. In the counties that don’t follow into either of the 2 categories, all sports are allowed to have full contact games/competitions. 

For Bothell High School this means that, as of October 6th, the only things stopping the moderate risk or lower sports teams from practicing and playing games are the adjusted sports seasons voted on by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association. It seems that some Bothell athletes would like for the sports season to be returned to normal, but it doesn’t really matter as long as the sports season happens. As Bothell athlete Reece Williams(‘22) put it, “I would love it if we had our soccer season in February-April instead of April-June because the weather would be better. Playing soccer and the summer heat is terrible and having to worry about sports during finals is even worse. I’m going to play soccer no matter what season it is.” Others wouldn’t play no matter when the season was, such as Bothell soccer player Roshan Skariah(‘22) who said, “Even if they did change the season to the original, I don’t think that I would play. I feel like our health is more important than playing a game, no matter how important it is to you. If your health is compromised you may not even be able to play in the future.” While the future of Bothell High School sports is unclear, Governor Jay Inslee’s announcement does open up more options for how things will proceed.

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