The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) recently updated its COVID-19 protocols for high-risk winter sports following a multi-school, multi-county outbreak.
An estimated 200 cases are linked to a series of wrestling tournaments held in early December, according to the Washington State Department of Health.
New protocols will require all athletes and coaches to get tested three times per week, regardless of vaccination status. High-risk sports include basketball, wrestling, water polo and competitive cheer.
“While these changes will create a heavy burden for school administrators, coaches and athletes, we know it is better than the alternative that was being considered -- a full shutdown of high-risk sports,” according to a statement from the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association. “There are many factors to this situation which we cannot control however we do know that following these guidelines will continue to give our students a chance to play.”
Previously, only unvaccinated athletes were required to be tested for COVID-19. Now, all athletes and coaches as well as supporting personnel must be tested despite vaccination status.
Among those screening tests, at least one must occur no sooner than the day before the competition. Athletes are encouraged to get tested the day of the event whenever possible, according to a report from the WIAA.
“The whole thing was a little bit fuzzy across the state,” WHS girls basketball coach Scott Bullock said. “Every league and district probably interpreted the guidelines differently.”
He said the games for Woodinville boys and girls varsity basketball teams were postponed on Friday, Dec. 17, and Saturday, Dec. 18. He doesn’t know when they will be rescheduled, he said.
A meet for the Woodinville boys wrestling team was canceled as well.
“Our district wasn’t equipped to do that testing right away,” Bullock said. “So, they postponed games until they put a process into place for testing players three times a week.”
Gameplay continued for the WHS girls basketball team against Eastside Catholic High School on Monday, Dec. 20.