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Additional High School Sports Given Green Light

Springfield, Eugene and Bethel school districts have collaboratively agreed to permit high school football beginning February 22. Volleyball teams also are expected to be able to play if local COVID rates continue to improve. Traditional spring sports are tentatively scheduled to begin in April and winter sports in May.

Full-contact sports were prohibited until recently, when Governor Kate Brown announced Feb. 10 that the Oregon Health Authority’s guidance for outdoor sports had been revised. “School sports play an important role in fostering students’ mental, emotional, and physical health,” Governor Brown noted. “We will proceed with caution, to ensure that teams are following health and safety precautions to protect our athletes, their families, and their communities.”

The updated guidance allows high school teams to practice and compete provided that health and safety protocols are put into place. Because Lane County is in the COVID Extreme Risk category, the protocols include on-site COVID testing, developed plans for contact tracing, isolation and quarantining, a waiver identifying health and safety risks, and not allowing onsite spectators.

Springfield and Thurston High Schools will join three schools from Eugene 4J along with Bethel’s Willamette High School for an abbreviated 6-week season, with varsity games tentatively scheduled to begin March 5.

While the overall success of high school sports this year is dependent upon everyone doing their part to limit the transmission of COVID-19 in our community, Springfield is confident in the health measures in place and pleased to offer this opportunity to our student-athletes.

The expansion of high school sports is yet another step towards returning to familiar routines and activities that keep students connected and engaged in school.