With strict limitations on attendance, there have been few fans at SPSL 2A sporting events. This photo, with most-empty seats, was from White River’s season-opening football game. Photo by Kevin Hanson

With strict limitations on attendance, there have been few fans at SPSL 2A sporting events. This photo, with most-empty seats, was from White River’s season-opening football game. Photo by Kevin Hanson

In Phase 3, more will be allowed to attend games

Fans of high school sports, rejoice.

As rules get eased across the state and gatherings – both inside and outdoors – begin to grow in size, that means more family and friends will be able to attend high school sporting events.

Some of the finer points still need to be worked out in the South Puget Sound League 2A, which includes both Enumclaw and White River. Athletic directors from the league’s 10 schools will convene this Friday, March 19, to make everything official.

For now, the world of prep athletics has this to go on: the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association issued the following press release Friday afternoon. The following is the exact text of the WIAA statement:

WIAA STATEMENT, RELEASED MARCH 12

With the announcement from Gov. Inslee on Thursday allowing for increased participation and increased spectator capacity in Phase 3 of the Healthy Washington Plan, the WIAA has compiled updated information in the Healthy Washington Guidelines Document.

A summary of major changes to K-12 activities guidelines are as follows:

Spectator Guidelines

Spectator restrictions for outdoor events will vary based on whether permanent seating is available and the amount of designated seats. Physical distancing requirements of six feet of separation between groups must be maintained in all seating arrangements which may limit the capacity number further than the guidelines listed.

For facilities with permanent seating up to 1,600 spectators, schools may operate at 50 percent capacity or a maximum of 400 people, whichever is fewer. For facilities with permanent seating for more than 1,600 spectators, schools may operate at 25 percent capacity. For outdoor activities, the Phase 3 guidelines indicate that participants, officials, coaches, and staff do not count toward the capacity restrictions as they did in Phases 1 and 2.

Indoor activities in Phase 3 may have up to 400 individuals at an event or at 50 percent capacity, whichever is fewer. For indoor activities, participants, coaches, officials, and staff do still count toward the capacity restrictions.

For activities where permanent seating is not available, spectators are limited to one seated group (1-6 people) per 100 square feet. Each group will be in a reserved space, only available to the group or pod who purchased a specific location.

“The spectator guideline changes will go into effect on Thursday, March 18. This is before counties officially enter Phase 3 but will allow for more attendance in the final week(s) of Season 1 activities.

High-risk Indoor Sports

In phase 3 all sports will be allowed to take part in competitions; however, tournaments are still prohibited. Masks are still required for all participants, coaches, staff and spectators during practices and competitions.

All counties will be moved to Phase 3 on Monday, March 22, allowing schools to offer all sports at that time.

Change in Phasing Metrics

Under the updated plan, counties will be individually evaluated every three weeks. The evaluations will occur on Mondays with any possible changes taking effect Friday, with the first evaluation scheduled for April 12.

In addition to being individually evaluated, large and small counties will have different sets of criteria. If any county fails one or more of the metrics below, that county will move down one Phase in the Heathy Washington plan.

If at any point the statewide ICU capacity reaches greater than 90 percent, all counties will move down one phase. The Department of Health always maintains the ability to move a county forward or backward at their discretion.


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