The ball — metaphorically speaking — is now in the hands of the schools.
Since May 26, based on direction from the Oregon School Activities Association, member schools now control what they will allow to take place at their school facilities with athletic/activities programs.
The change comes in accordance with directives from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, the Oregon Heath Authority and the Oregon Department of Education, including an ODE clarification saying that the closure of school facilities through June 30 should instead be interpreted to mean that school facilities were closed through the end of the school/contract year.
In part, the latest OSAA release reads:
"OSAA Staff has been working closely with the OSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) on recommendations for member schools regarding summer activities that are in alignment with OHA directives. The attached guidance is not intended to be prescriptive but rather to elicit thoughtful discussion at the local level among school administrators, coaches, parents, students and communities about navigating a gradual reopening of high school activities. Guidance for Phases Two and Three will be distributed in the coming weeks. The OSAA Executive Board understands that implementation decisions schools make this summer will potentially impact the upcoming school year and encourages member schools to follow this guidance. Schools and coaches are reminded that, per OSAA policy, participation in summer sports/activities may not be required."
The OSAA Executive Board will continue to meet on a regular basis throughout the summer in closed work sessions and "remains committed to administering sports/activities this Fall, provided it can be done safely in accordance with guidance from our state educational and medical partners."
Right now, all of Oregon's counties (except Multnomah County) have advanced from the baseline level to Phase 1, which includes the reopening of restaurants, bars, salons, barber shops, massage businesses, gyms and fitness businesses, with gatherings limited to 25 or fewer people.
Next comes Phase 2, which includes expanding gathering size to groups of 100, allowing some office work, plus beginning to allow visitation to congregate care. Through June 2, 26 of Oregon's 35 counties are under review for Phase 2 approval. The nine counties that have not advanced to Phase 2 far are Clackamas, Clatsop, Hood River, Lincoln, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook and Washington.
According to current direction from the state of Oregon, Phase 3 reopening is not possible until a reliable treatment or prevention is available. As a result, large gatherings and events are cancelled or significantly modified through at least September. Those events may include concerts, conventions, festivals and live-audience sports (though those are tentative and subject to change).
For the latest OSAA information regarding the coronavirus pandemic, visit osaa.org/coronavirus.
To see the state's complete Phase Two Reopening Guidance for recreational sports, click here.
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