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Sports & Recreation Guidance

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This information is to assist our community and schools on sports activities allowed within our counties.

Sports Guidance

⇒ Submit your Sports Tournament Safety Plan to the Health District.

This information is to assist our community and schools on sports activities allowed within our counties. Guidance is issued from the Governor’s office and the Washington State Department of Health.

Whether or not a sport is allowed, and to what degree it is allowed, depends on a combination of the risk category for the sport and the COVID risk category for the county in which the sport is to take place.

New metrics have been adopted by the Department of Health, to divide regions into either Phase 1, Phase 2 or Phase 3. Sports will maintain their previously assigned risk levels with the exception of gymnastics which now moved to low risk. The level of participation for each sport will now be assigned to the phasing below.

For the purpose of this guidance, sport risks are defined as (this list is not all inclusive):

LOW-CONTACT SPORTING ACTIVITIES:
Tennis, pickleball, golf, gymnastics, climbing, skating (competitive), archery, fencing, cross country, track and field, sideline/no-contact cheer and no-contact dance, disc golf.

MODERATE-CONTACT SPORTING ACTIVITIES:
Softball, baseball, t-ball, soccer, futsal, volleyball, lacrosse, flag football, ultimate frisbee, ice hockey, cricket, crew, field hockey, school bowling competitions.

HIGH-CONTACT SPORTING ACTIVITIES:
Football, rugby, wrestling, cheerleading with contact, dance with contact, basketball, water polo, martial arts with contact including competitions, roller derby. (Martial arts without contact should follow fitness guidelines found here.)

School-Based Sports and Activities

The previous guidelines for participation in athletics and activities were tied to county metrics of cases per 100,000 population. Movement between phases in the Healthy Washington — Roadmap to Recovery plan will be tied to two metrics. Metrics for each region will be updated every three weeks on Mondays with an effective date of that Friday. Metrics can be found on our Metrics page.

+ Review: Sporting Activities Guidance for all three phases

The Governor’s Office and Washington State Department of Health issued new guidance for returning to education-based sports and activities, on January 5. The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) has summarized those guidelines and added clarity for school programs in the Healthy Washington Sport & Activity Guidelines document.

WIAA

WIAA Staff will continue to update the resources available on their page as the situation evolves. The WIAA has encouraged leagues to find creative solutions that will promote participation and engagement in their local communities including submitting requests for modifying season schedules and waiver requests for WIAA rules.

The WIAA has used this guidance to develop new general, as well as sport-specific, return-to-play guidelines. The Governor’s office has informed the WIAA that these guidelines must be followed and neither schools nor community sports programs have the authority to implement more lenient policies.

The Governor’s office has declared school districts and organizations must follow these guidelines, unlike the recommendations issued in the Decision-Making Tree for schools to return to in-person learning. It is not mandated that schools return to in-person learning before taking part in extracurricular activities given the phase requirements are met.

In-depth guidelines for Education Based Sports & Activities can be found on the WIAA Return to Play Guidelines page.

See also: WIAA Executive Board Revises Season 1 Sports in Response to State Guidelines

Tournaments

In Phase 3, tournaments are allowed for low, moderate and high contact sports. Non-essential travel such as out-of-state team or individual travel for sporting activities are subject to quarantines as detailed in the state Travel Guidance.

Masking

Please see guidance for specifics on masking at each phase. Noteable areas include:

  • Facial coverings required for all coaches, volunteers and athletes at all times.
  • Facial coverings required for spectators both inside and outside at all times except when actively eating or drinking.
  • Phase 2: Gymnasts may remove their masks and facial coverings for routines that require for flips or blind landings, or similar maneuvers, where a slipped mask could impede safety. Track and field participant may remove facial coverings when competing at track meets. In each of these activities facial coverings must be worn at all times when not actually competing.
  • Phase 3: Facial coverings required for all the situations described below with the following exceptions:
    • Competitive cheerleading and dance with contact (while tumbling, stunting, flying, flips)
    • Gymnastics (while on the different apparatuses, tumbling, flips)
    • Watersports (while in the water; must follow Dept. of Health Water Recreation Guidance.)
    • Low contact outdoor sports athletes allowed to remove facial coverings for training and competitions. Facial coverings must be worn by athletes when not actively training or competing.
    • Coaches, trainers, and officials must wear face coverings at all times.
    • Moderate contact outdoor sports athletes allowed to remove facial coverings for competitions.
    • Facial coverings must be worn by athletes when training or when not actively competing in a game or match against another team or when on the bench waiting to play. Coaches, trainers, and officials must wear face coverings at all times.
    • Officials and referees supervising low or moderate contact outdoor competitions allowed remove their facial coverings if officiating requires them to run in the field of play.
    • Facial coverings required for all high contact sports, indoor and outdoor for all participants, including coaches, trainers, and officials.
    • Facial coverings required for all moderate contact indoor sports for all participants, including coaches, trainers, and officials.
    • Low contact indoor sports may remove facial coverings during competitions. Facial coverings must be worn by athletes when training or when not actively competing.

The State of Washington has also adopted specific guidance for these areas:

Sports, Recreation and Fitness