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Games can begin March 1 but strict safety protocols must be followed and no spectators are allowed

PMG FILE PHOTO - Gresham and Barlow high schools will play 11 man football this spring.

The Gresham-Barlow School District announced Tuesday it plans to play 11-man tackle football this spring.

The district will submit the required "opt-in" plan for 11-on-11 football to the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon School Athletics and Activities Association, the district said in an announcement Tuesday, Feb. 23.

The district made the decision after the Oregon Health Authority released the latest school health safety metrics for Multnomah and Clackamas counties on Feb. 23.

Both Multnomah and Clackamas are currently in the high risk category for COVID-19 cases.

The Clackamas County metrics (90.5 cases per 100,000 people) makes the district eligible to participate in 11-man tackle football. A part of the Gresham-Barlow district is in Clackamas County. The Multnomah County metrics (108.9 cases per 100,000 people) do not make the district eligible yet. But the metrics are trending in the right direction, the district said in the announcement.

As per state rules, in order to play 11-man football, a district has to be offering limited in-person instruction, known as LIPI, or so-called hybrid instruction to high school students.

Gresham-Barlow will offer LIPI to some high schoolers beginning March 8.

School districts offering sports must follow a list of strict pandemic safety protocols. No spectators will be allowed and there is a 120 person limit of people on the field.

Prior to this, the district had said Barlow and Gresham high schools would be offering 7-on-7 football. At that time, the school health safety metrics for Multnomah and Clackamas counties did not make the district eligible to play 11-on-11 football unless it offered LIPI.

Practices for 11-man football will begin February 24.

Barlow and Gresham high schools are contacting student athletes regarding the decision and the upcoming season, the announcement said.

The OSAA rejiggered school sports calendars to try to have some kind of sports seasons during the pandemic. The first of five possible high school football games in Oregon will be March 1 in the truncated six-week football season.


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