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High School Sports Warming Up 

Football, soccer, volleyball and cross country season starts Feb. 22 

Local high schools are gearing up for school sports. Teams have already been engaging in no-contact training and conditioning activities. Now, additional sports have been given the green light, and the football, soccer, volleyball and cross country season is about to begin. 

The Eugene, Bethel and Springfield school districts have collaboratively agreed to opt in to permit high school football beginning February 22, with games tentatively scheduled to begin the week of March 4. Volleyball teams also are expected to be able to play if local COVID rates continue to improve. 

The Oregon School Activities Association adjusted the athletics calendar this year to allow sports activities for all seasons to take place on a delayed and abbreviated calendar. Traditional fall sports begin February 22, 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 schools would be allowed to opt in to outdoor contact sports providing that health and safety protocols are put in place. “School sports play an important role in fostering students’ mental, emotional, and physical health,” Governor Brown noted. Sports designated moderate or low contact, including soccer and cross country, were already permitted. 

Participating high schools must be providing limited in-person instruction and be aiming to return to on-site learning in a hybrid model sometime this school year, as 4J high schools are.

While Lane County remains in the Extreme Risk or High Risk category, the required protocols must include on-site COVID testing, contact tracing and quarantining, and a waiver identifying health and safety risks. No spectators are allowed. 

This additional step toward returning to familiar routines and activities is a positive one for our student athletes as coaches, teammates and physical activity play an important role in students’ overall health and well-being. 

The overall success of all on-site athletic and academic opportunities is dependent upon everyone doing their part to limit the transmission of COVID-19 in our community. This includes wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distance as much as possible, practicing good hand hygiene, and continuing to follow other recommendations for public health—both on the field and off.

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