SPSL 2A football teams will play a short, six-game schedule.

SPSL 2A football teams will play a short, six-game schedule.

Shift into Phase 2 paves the way for high school sports

Football turnouts are planned for Feb. 10, while other sports start Feb. 15.

High school athletes and coaches, along with the families and fans who support them, have been hoping for a return to action this month. Turnouts and games, though, were dependent upon a move into Phase 2 as part of the state’s “Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery.”

Now, everything has firmed up a bit and it appears football turnouts will begin Feb. 10 and all other Season 1 sports will kick off Feb. 15. That goal became reality when Gov. Jay Inslee announced last week that existing rules would be relaxed a bit, thus allowing King and Pierce counties to slip into Phase 2.

In this year that is like no other, the league’s Season 1 includes football, cross country, volleyball, girls soccer, girls swim and dive, boys and girls golf and cheer/dance.

Schedules call for football games to begin on Friday, Feb. 26, although Enumclaw High will wait a day later, traveling to Steilacoom for a Saturday contest.

Locally, both Enumclaw and White River high schools are now sharing membership in the South Puget Sound League 2A. Others in the league include Clover Park, Fife, Foss, Franklin Pierce, Orting, Steilacoom and Washington. In a late addition, Eatonville – a former member of the SPSL 2A – was granted a one-year stay, making a 10-team league. The Cruisers were dropping down to the 1A ranks but their intended destination began before Eatonville was able to go.

Inslee’s announcement switched the prep sports scenario from Phase 1 (low- and moderate-risk sports permitted for practice and training only) to Phase 2, which allows for “low-, moderate-, and high-risk sports competitions.” There are caveats, namely that no tournaments be played and spectator attendance be capped at 200.

SPSL 2A athletic directors have not yet decided how attendance will be handled. There are several options being considered and the ADs are expected to gather this week to craft a plan of action. It’s assumed there will one policy governing all league contests, rather than allowing each member school to choose a policy of its own.

The “Healthy Washington” plan created eight regions with Pierce, King and Snohomish counties in the Puget Sound Region. The plan outlined four metrics and, originally, a region had to meet all four to advance to the next stage. Inslee’s announcement last week dropped the mandate to meeting any three of the four metrics; thus, the Puget Sound Region moved from Phase 1 to Phase 2.

Specifically, the Puget Sound region reached the thresholds in hospital admission rate, ICU occupancy and positivity percentage. The region remained above the threshold in case rate trend.

The region could be returned to Phase 1 if it fails to meet the requirements in the future. The state Department of Health will release new calculations every two weeks with the next announcement coming Feb. 12.

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