Archive for the ‘coronavirus updates’ Category

Coupeville High School volleyball coach Cory Whitmore contemplates an ever-changing universe. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Things remain in flux.

As the 2021-2022 school athletic year kicks into high gear, things are a lot better than they were a year ago.

Which doesn’t mean the pandemic has let loose of us yet.

Case in point, Coupeville’s trip to La Conner next Thursday, Sept. 23 to face the two-time defending 2B state volleyball champs has been erased from the schedule.

It’s due to “a COVID issue with La Conner,” and the schools plan to reschedule the game later in the season.

For games and matches still being played, there are several new tweaks to spectator rules by Coupeville’s Northwest 2B/1B League rivals.

As of Friday, Sept. 17:


**Spectators are required to wear masks at ALL sports contests at La Conner High School, regardless or whether it’s an indoor or outdoor event.


**Spectators are NOT currently allowed to attend volleyball matches at Orcas Island High School, but can attend outdoor events, such as football, soccer, and cross country.

This applies only to home events for the Vikings, and not their road games.

Volleyball matches played at Orcas can be viewed on the Orcas Island Booster Club page on Facebook.


**The other five NWL schools — Coupeville, Mount Vernon Christian, Concrete, Darrington, and Friday Harbor — are currently operating under rules set down by the Washington State Department of Health.

Those rules require masks for all spectators at volleyball matches.

Spectators do NOT need to wear masks at outdoor events where there are less than 500 people in attendance.

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Increased vaccination rates makes it more likely high school athletes will have un-interrupted seasons. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Are you a student at one of Whidbey Island’s three high schools?

Gotten vaccinated for Covid-19 and willing to share with others why you believe it’s important for other students to do the same?

If so, Keven Graves would like to put you on TikTok and related social media as Island County pushes to increase its vaccination rates.

The offer is open to students in Coupeville, Oak Harbor, and on South Whidbey.

For more info, contact Graves at K.graves@islandcountywa.gov.

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Embrace your mask, Wolf fans. It’s staying, at least for indoor events. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

As the Delta variant of COVID-19 dominates the news, fans will still have to wear masks at some games, but most high school athletes won’t.

That’s the quick take-away from new regulations released Wednesday night by the Washington State Department of Health.

Under the guidelines, masks won’t be required for athletes, regardless of vaccination status, in any outdoor sports or “moderate-contact” indoor sports such as volleyball.

The only sport Coupeville High School plays which is considered a “high-contact” indoor sport is basketball.

Unless things change by the time winter rolls around, hardwood players can still escape the use of masks if they are vaccinated, or agree to regular testing.

Cheer, which is considered “a high aerosol-generating activity” has similar requirements to basketball — athletes can go mask-less if fully-vaccinated, or they participate in testing.

Screening testing for unvaccinated athletes who want to compete without a mask must be performed twice weekly, using a molecular or antigen test.

Masks will be required for everyone in weight rooms, however, regardless of vaccination status, and physical distancing must be practiced.

The DOH terms weight rooms “high-risk indoor settings,” saying “they are often poorly ventilated, crowded and used by athletes from sports of multiple contact levels, as well as PE students.”

While most athletes won’t be required to wear masks during competition, they will continue to do so on bus trips.

Schools are required to follow the CDC order for “all riders and drivers to wear a mask on buses or other public transportation, regardless of vaccination status.”

Masks are recommended for indoor practices, and during competition, will be required for “all coaches, athletic trainers, and other support personnel in K-12 settings, regardless of vaccination status.”

Referees will get some leeway this school year.

If they are fully-vaccinated, refs do not need to wear masks when “actively officiating” indoors, but must pop them back on in down times, such as talking with coaches, or between quarters.

Unvaccinated referees must wear face coverings at all times when officiating, unless they participate in screening testing.

Last, but not least, all spectators attending indoor K-12 sporting activities, regardless of vaccination status, have to mask up.

Audience members should be seated in “family units,” according to DOH regs, and those small groups should be spaced at least three feet apart.

That seems to imply fans will only be required to wear masks for volleyball and basketball, and not for soccer, cross country, football, tennis, softball, baseball, and track.

Though, as with all things pandemic, things can and likely will change at a moment’s notice.

Stay tuned.


To peruse the complete “K-12 COVID-19 Requirements for the 2021-2022 School Year,” pop over to:

Click to access 820-105-K12Schools2021-2022.pdf

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The South Whidbey Youth Soccer Club has suspended activities for a week after a player tested positive Friday for COVID-19.

The affected player was part of the girls U-14 group, and the family identified that the exposure likely came from “outside the soccer fields.”

The SWYSC board of trustees suspended practice Friday, then made the decision to go further with a shut-down.

“We have decided that the safest thing for us to do at this point is to halt the Academy for a week,” SWYSC said in an email sent to parents.

“We cannot be certain that exposure did not extend beyond the GU-14 group, so with a roughly 10-day break before we could be back on the field, families can take steps to make sure they are all safe and healthy.”

SWYSC hopes to extend play through the week of May 10-14, to make up for the missed week.

The board has been in contact with the Island County Health department, and has reviewed all CDC guidelines.

“This is an unfortunate situation, but we appreciate the understanding and support for our actions on Friday,” the email said.

Dr. Jo Moccia, the Superintendent for South Whidbey Schools, also addressed the matter in an email sent to parents in her district.

“The students in the impacted family have not participated in our hybrid program or attended SWSD in-person learning,” she said.

“The soccer club leadership assured us that all players followed protocol at practice and during games, so exposure is unlikely.”

South Whidbey schools require a daily wellness screening for all students and staff members coming on campus, and Moccia called on all to “please continue to practice all safety protocols.”

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Willie Smith is watching to make sure you follow all guidelines. Don’t make him come down there. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

No concessions. Limited seating. Masks for all spectators.

As Coupeville High School moves from spring sports to fall sports during the Age of Coronavirus, there will be some fairly strict guidelines for fans attending volleyball, football, or soccer contests.

The ability to follow these rules will dictate whether events remain open to fans.


Volleyball at CHS and CMS gyms:

Varsity matches will be played in the CHS gym, JV matches in the CMS gym.

JV spectators must exit through the side doors of the gym, and not back through the main lobby, and must leave the facilities after the match.

Due to limited seating, JV spectators are NOT allowed to also attend the varsity match.

An exception will be made only for parents whose daughters play for both JV and varsity.

“With the regulations in place for six feet of distance between fans/groups, it severely limits the number of spectators allowed in our gyms,” said CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith.

“This is why we have to limit spectator numbers and not allow those fans that watch the JV match to be able to watch the varsity matches.

“It is simply a matter of numbers and seats, and we just don’t have the size to accommodate everyone we’d like to.”

Spectators for varsity matches should enter through the main lobby 20-30 minutes prior to start time, and go directly to the CHS gym.

Senior parents and families will be given first choice of bleacher seats behind the benches in the CHS gym.

Family groups (one household) are allowed to sit together, but must maintain six-foot distance from other spectators/groups.

Blue tape on the bleachers in both gyms will be used to maintain six-foot distances between spectators.

Cones on the bleachers indicate areas where spectators are not allowed to sit.

The “crow’s nest” in the CHS gym is limited to two individuals and is reserved for home and visiting camera operators only.

Bathrooms will be open, but no food is allowed in the facility, and concessions will remain closed.

Masks have to be worn at all times.


Football and soccer @ CHS Stadium:

Same as the gym – bathrooms open, no food allowed in, no concessions, and masks are mandatory.

Red tape will be used to divide the bleachers into six-foot sections, with red X’s marking rows where people can not sit.

Spectators are allowed to sit in groups of 10-15 (no more than two households together) but must still maintain six foot distance from other spectators.

Fans can spread out along the outside of the track, but are NOT allowed on the track.

Teams will remain on the field at halftime, with no gym or shed access.

The press box is limited to a maximum of three people — the announcer, the clock operator, and one media person.

Which means, you try and take my seat in there, you probably get tasered.

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