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Archive for the ‘Everything changes’ Category

With Island County in Phase 3 of the Governor’s COVID-19 reopening plan, Coupeville athletes have been able to return to practices. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Games are still on hold, but everyone gets more practice days.

The Executive Board of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced Friday it has extended the “open coaching window” from November 30 to Dec. 19.

With most schools across the state using distance learning as the world deals with the ongoing pandemic, actual competition is not currently planned to begin until Jan.

The open coaching window is normally offered during the summer, and allows coaches to work with their athletes during the off-season.

With COVID-19 having thrown the normal prep sports schedule into disarray, the WIAA opted to allow practices, or open gyms, or whatever you want to call them, to go from Sept. 28-Nov. 30.

With Island County in a modified Phase 3 in Governor Jay Inslee’s reopening plan, Coupeville was able to start practices immediately.

However, a lot of other counties are still in Phase 2, or below that, and quite a few schools have not been able to begin practices, mainly because their risk assessment offices have recommended against it.

By extending the open coaching window almost three weeks, the WIAA hopes to offer those schools lagging behind a chance to catch up and get some practices in the book.

Schools are allowed to hold intra-team scrimmages during this period, but can not currently hold competitions with other schools under WIAA rules.

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That moment when you realize the only sports available to write about this fall will be slug races.

Counting today, there are 130 days left in 2020.

And that’s going to be a long, looooooong time with next to nothing to write about.

Which is why, effective early tomorrow morning (Tuesday, Aug. 25), I’m leaving social media and taking a sabbatical from Coupeville Sports.

I’m not removing the blog – all 7,898 articles I’ve published between Aug. 15, 2012 and now will still be here to read.

I’m just not going to add anything new, at least for awhile.

Mainly because there just isn’t going to be much to talk about.

With the COVID-19 pandemic rollin’ on, one of the few guarantees we have is that there won’t be any prep sports played until Jan., 2021.

And even that comes with a really big caveat.

We know there won’t be a fall sports season.

Though, unlike last spring, there still is a chance those teams will play, just not until sometime in March.

Maybe…

If things go perfectly, high school basketball will lead the return, with the start of practice the final week of Dec., and the opening games of a pared-down season dropping the first week of Jan.

Unless the influenza season gets nasty and combines with COVID to create a less-than-perfect storm, at which point we may be on hold for some time.

Basketball may get shoved back.

The season may get bumped.

Or we may just not see prep sports at all during the entire 2020-2021 school year.

No one knows. And if they tell you they do, they really don’t.

So, for someone who writes a blog focused largely on high school and middle school sports in a small town, the future looks increasingly barren.

Tack on the fact I have always lived by the credo of “Publish Every Day,” having averaged 3+ articles a day for the last eight years, and life will be extremely frustrating for me.

Case in point, this weekend.

I published four articles Thursday — two about sports, one about our ferry system, and one extremely well-read one about murder most foul — then had nothing to write about Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Or today, for that matter.

There is nothing ahead on the schedule. Nothing.

No games. No practices. No new hires. Nothing. Nada. Less than zilch.

I can spend a lot of time being frustrated, and resort to sprinkling in non-sports stories, then spend more time marinating in the soul-sucking hell that is social media, or I can take a break.

I have other writing projects I can go work on, and freed from having to be on Facebook and Twitter, I can get away from the cesspool.

So, I’m out.

Like I said, the blog will still be here, and we’ll see how things play out.

If prep sports return in 2021, I may be back. Or not.

Place your bets accordingly.

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Former CHS Principal Duane Baumann is returning to the school, this time as Special Services Director. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

He thought he was out, but they pulled him back in.

Mere months after stepping down as Coupeville High School Principal, ending a decade-long run at the school, Duane Baumann has returned to his former stomping grounds.

This time he will be the interim Special Services Director for the school system, replacing Andrea Downs, who resigned after two years in the position.

Baumann will also assist the district in launching its virtual learning program as most students open the 2020-2021 school year online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hire will be official once approved by the school board at its August 24 meeting, said Superintendent Steve King.

During his previous stint as a Coupeville administrator, Baumann held several positions including Assistant Principal and Athletic Director.

The father of five was CHS Principal from 2016-2020.

When Baumann stepped down, the original plan was for he and his family to leave Whidbey, with a possible move to Port Orchard planned.

However, the pandemic “threw us some curveballs,” said wife Barbi, and plans changed. At least for awhile.

“The Baumann family is here for another year!,” Barbi said. “We are happy to be staying!”

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Cross country will join other traditional fall sports in moving to March during the 2020-2021 school year as Coupeville deals with COVID-19. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Don’t call it a cancellation, just a postponement.

Coupeville High School won’t field any athletic teams this fall, but, unlike last spring, it’s not a permanent erasure.

Hopefully.

As the world deals with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association has shuffled the athletic schedule for the 2020-2021 school year.

This time around, the plan is for four seasons, instead of the normal three.

But, at the same time, the WIAA made things flexible, allowing several “moderate risk” fall sports to be played in either Season 1 or Season 3.

For CHS, that’s cross country and boys tennis, and Wolf Athletic Director Willie Smith confirmed Friday he’s joining next-door neighbor South Whidbey in opting for the latter of the two choices.

“Obviously, we really want to get our kids and coaches going as we know how important physical activities can be, as well as the importance of building school culture that athletics can bring to our school,” Smith said.

“But, during these times, there are so many extraneous factors that continue to come into play: safety, phases of other schools/counties, opponent availability, etc. that our league and ourselves have made the decision that this is the best opportunity to get our student-athletes in the best possible scenario to get to have a season(s).

“We are hopeful and will continue to work towards workable solutions to provide our students with the most positive and successful experience we can but need to remind everyone that flexibility is going to have to be at the forefront of this school year.”

The plan now is for basketball to open the athletic year, with the first practices set for the final week of December, and games starting in January.

With seasons compressed, all sports will be allowed to play up to 70% of a normal regular-season schedule.

Playoffs and championship events are to be determined.

The proposed lineup:

 

Season 1:

No athletics offered at CHS

 

Season 2:

Boys/Girls Basketball

Practice starts: Dec. 28
Competition starts: Jan. 4
Postseason: Feb. 22-28
**Phase 4 for games**

 

Season 3:

Boys/Girls Soccer

Practice starts: Mar. 1
Competition starts: Mar. 8
Postseason: Apr. 26-May 1
**Phase 3 for games (with masks) or Phase 4 (no masks)**

 

Boys Tennis

Practice starts: Mar. 1
Competition starts: Mar. 8
Postseason: June 21-27
**Phase 3 for matches**

 

Competitive Cheer

Practice starts: Mar. 1
Competition starts: Mar. 8
Postseason: Apr. 26-May 1
**Phase 3 for competitions**

 

Cross Country

Practice starts: Mar. 1
Competition starts: Mar. 8
Postseason: April 26-May 1
**Phase 3 for meets**

 

Football

Practice starts: Feb. 17
Competition starts: Mar. 5
Postseason: Apr. 19-May 19
**Phase 4 for games**

 

Volleyball

Practice starts: Feb. 22
Competition starts: Mar. 8
Postseason: Apr. 26-May 1
**Phase 3 for matches**

 

Season 4:

Baseball

Practice starts: Apr. 26
Competition starts: May 3
Postseason: June 21-26
**Phase 3 for games (with masks) or Phase 4 (no masks)**

 

Girls Tennis

Practice starts: Apr. 26
Competition starts: May 3
Postseason: June 21-26
**Phase 3 for matches**

 

Softball

Practice starts: Apr. 26
Competition starts: May 3
Postseason: June 21-26
**Phase 3 for games (with masks) or Phase 4 (no masks)**

 

Track and Field

Practice starts: Apr. 26
Competition starts: May 3
Postseason: June 21-26
**Phase 3 for meets**

 

Middle school sports also shut down:

In a normal year, Coupeville Middle School opens with volleyball and boys soccer, then goes to girls and boys basketball, before finishing with track and field.

That will be upended this school year, but nothing official has been decided yet.

“We are waiting for directions from WIAA and our District 1 team,” Smith said. “There is a committee looking at options but nothing has been decided other than no middle school sports until at least late December just like high school.”

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Under current WIAA guidelines, Wolf basketball players like Hawthorne Wolfe will start practices Dec. 28. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The tinkering continues in the age of coronavirus.

After meeting Tuesday, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Executive Board announced several tweaks to its plan for a four-season sports campaign during the 2020-21 school year.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the state, a county has to be in Phase 3 of Governor Jay Inslee’s reopening plan to start competition in September.

But while Island County is one of the few to have reached that status, that might not be enough for Coupeville High School.

All of the Wolves new foes in the Northwest 2B/1B League are in counties currently mired in Phase 2, and a freeze on counties applying to move to the next phase has been extended “indefinitely.”

CHS also plays boys tennis in the recently renamed Emerald Sound Conference.

Every opponent there, with the exception of South Whidbey, is a ritzy private school camped out in Phase 2 King County.

Also, most large school districts, including those in the Seattle area, have made public commitments in the past week to opening the new school year 100% online.

Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King has set August 7 to make a decision on online vs. in-person vs. a hybrid education plan.

There has been no definitive statement on whether schools using only online teaching will allow students to compete in athletics.

While the WIAA did not issue plans Tuesday for how many schools need to be active for prep sports to start in September, it did do the following:

 

**Cross country and tennis are officially approved for play in Season 1, with postseason events set to happen at the end of Season 3 and 4, respectively.

Schools and leagues can opt to play Season 1 sports later, however.

If moved, cross country goes to Season 3, while tennis jumps to Season 4.

 

**Competitive cheer has been moved from Season 2 to Season 3.

 

**The start of football practice is moved to Feb. 17.

Gridiron players are required to have more practices than other sports, and this would allow the sport to begin playing games the same week as other Season 3 sports.

 

**Season 2 will begin and end one week earlier than originally planned, to better avoid overlap of students participating in both Seasons 2 and 3.

Basketball practices now start Dec. 28.

 

**The out-of-season period has been adjusted for sports not part of Season 1.

Coaching is not allowed between Aug. 17-Sept. 27, but teams can practice between Sept. 28-Nov. 30.

Football teams can have 20 days of contact practices during this time.

 

**Schools will be allowed to schedule 70% of typical allowable contests for all sports during the 2020-2021 school year.

Baseball (was 20 games, now 14)
Basketball (20 to 14)
Cross Country (10 to 7)
Football (10 to 7)
Soccer (16 to 11)
Softball (20 to 14)
Tennis (16 to 11)
Track and Field (10 to 7)
Volleyball (16 to 11)

 

**The plan (as of July 29):

 

Season 1:

Cross Country

Practice starts: Sept. 7
Competition starts: Sept. 14
Postseason: April 26-May 1
**Phase 3 for meets**

 

Boys Tennis

Practice starts: Sept. 7
Competition starts: Sept. 14
Postseason: June 21-27
**Phase 3 for matches**

 

Season 2:

Boys/Girls Basketball

Practice starts: Dec. 28
Competition starts: Jan. 4
Postseason: Feb. 22-28
**Phase 4 for games**

 

Season 3:

Boys/Girls Soccer

Practice starts: Mar. 1
Competition starts: Mar. 8
Postseason: Apr. 26-May 1
**Phase 3 for games (with masks) or Phase 4 (no masks)**

 

Competitive Cheer

Practice starts: Mar. 1
Competition starts: Mar. 8
Postseason: Apr. 26-May 1
**Phase 3 for competitions**

 

Football

Practice starts: Feb. 17
Competition starts: Mar. 5
Postseason: Apr. 19-May 19
**Phase 4 for games**

 

Volleyball

Practice starts: Feb. 22
Competition starts: Mar. 8
Postseason: Apr. 26-May 1
**Phase 3 for matches**

 

Season 4:

Baseball

Practice starts: Apr. 26
Competition starts: May 3
Postseason: June 21-26
**Phase 3 for games (with masks) or Phase 4 (no masks)**

 

Girls Tennis

Practice starts: Apr. 26
Competition starts: May 3
Postseason: June 21-26
**Phase 3 for matches**

 

Softball

Practice starts: Apr. 26
Competition starts: May 3
Postseason: June 21-26
**Phase 3 for games (with masks) or Phase 4 (no masks)**

 

Track and Field

Practice starts: Apr. 26
Competition starts: May 3
Postseason: June 21-26
**Phase 3 for meets**

 

PS — It appears the WIAA has recently adjusted what phase a county needs to be in for certain sports to be played.

Soccer, volleyball, baseball, competitive cheer, and softball are now in Phase 3, while they were previously listed under Phase 4, though three of those sports — all outdoor ones — will require masks if played in Phase 3.

Why are volleyball and cheer, which are held indoors and involve athlete contact and close-quarters breathing, exempt from masks?

You got me.

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