Posts Tagged ‘Covid-19’

Outdoor practices with masks, such as this one with CHS softball player Kylie Van Velkinburgh, can continue. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Adapt and move on.

That’s the unspoken mantra for Whidbey Island athletes, coaches, and administrators during the Age of Coronavirus.

So, Sunday’s press conference by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee was just another bump in the road.

With COVID-19 cases rapidly rising across the country as the pandemic slams into the regular flu and cold season, many states are enacting new guidelines aimed at preventing people from interacting in contained spaces.

While there have been no games since February, high school and middle school athletes have been allowed to participate in off-season practices by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

That won’t end, but everyone will have to adapt after Inslee issued an executive order instituting new mitigation measures.

For the Wolves, and their counterparts in Oak Harbor and South Whidbey, the quick takeaway is this – indoor practice, no, but outdoor practice, yes.

“In accordance with the new state guidelines issued by Governor Inslee, all indoor sporting activities are canceled until December 14th,” Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith said.

“Outdoor activities will continue with pods of 10 student-athletes wearing masks at all times.

“After conferring with other Island Athletic Directors, this will be the guidelines all schools on the Island will follow until further notice.”

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Travel ball is out.

Local high school and middle school spikers are not competing right now, and Tuesday the Whidbey Volleyball Club announced it is cancelling its season.

The decision was forced on the club by the double whammy of the COVID-19 pandemic, and by a lack of gym space in which to practice.

In a statement on its Facebook page, the WVC directed players and their parents to look to a pair of mainland clubs if they still want to play.

“There are clubs (Apex and SIVA) off-Island that will still be having a season since they have their own facilities and their tryouts are this weekend,” the WVC said.

“If your child would like to tryout, please reach out to those clubs.”

WVC, which launched in 2016, is a USA Junior Olympic volleyball club which has multiple teams in different age groups, and draws athletes from all parts of Whidbey Island.

In recent seasons, numerous Coupeville spikers, including All-Conference high school stars like Emma Smith, Maya Toomey-Stout, and Scout Smith have played for WVC teams.

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Mickey Clark Field waits. (David Stern photo)

Better safe than sorry.

As the COVID-19 pandemic rolls on, Coupeville High School Athletic Director Willie Smith has been at the forefront of making sure the Wolves remain diligent in how they conduct business in the Age of Coronavirus.

When the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association opened the chance for schools to start workouts for their athletes — there will be no games until at least January — CHS took advantage.

But Smith has also been a hawk in making sure Health Department guidelines are followed by his coaches and athletes every step of the way.

So, with that in mind, he put a temporary hold on some activities starting late last week.

While there have been no positive COVID cases publicly reported among participants in the CHS practices, the start of cold and flu season has everyone looking twice as hard at every wayward sniffle.

Which is why some recent practices for sports such as football have been cancelled.

“Some of our student athletes have colds or cold-like symptoms and as an Athletic Department we have chosen to postpone the optional practices that those students participate in as a precautionary measure,” Smith said.

“As soon as we are able, we will begin offering our optional sports practices once again.”

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Maddie Georges drives the ball up-court during Coupeville’s last basketball game, a playoff tilt in February. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

To basketball, or not to basketball, that is the question.

As we wade through the Age of Coronavirus, the current plan for prep sports is this:

Winter sports (basketball in Coupeville) would start the last week of December, with games kicking off in January.

Then, traditional fall sports (football, soccer, etc.) follow in March, with spring sports (softball, baseball, etc.) starting in May.


Positive cases for COVID-19 are spiking throughout Washington state, including Island County, where there were 15 new documented cases between Oct. 30 and Nov. 2.

Deaths have not risen, with Island County sitting firm at 12, with 10 of those in long-term care facilities.

With that as a backdrop, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Executive Board met Monday, where it approved “a process for determining the status of upcoming WIAA seasons during the 2020-21 school year.”

The decision was based on feedback from Athletic Directors across the state.

Monday’s plan states for a season to take place, “50 percent of schools in a WIAA region (by classification) must be eligible to participate in league games per the COVID metrics in Department of Health guidelines.”

That means at least four of eight schools in the revamped Northwest 1B/2B League will have to be ready to go for basketball to begin in December.

Along with football and wrestling, basketball is rated a “high-risk” sport by the state.

To play games, schools have to be in counties that have less than 25 new cases per 100,000 people in a 14-day period, and less than 5% positive cases overall.

NWL teams come from five different counties, and, as of Tuesday afternoon, two of eight schools would be eligible to play, with a third narrowly missing.

Friday Harbor and Orcas Island would be good to go, as San Juan County is at just 5.8 new cases over a 14-day period.

Chimacum narrowly misses, with Jefferson County at 25.1, while Coupeville has work to do, with Island County at 48.3.

Skagit County is at 57.3, making life tough for Concrete, La Conner, and Mount Vernon Christian, while Darrington is really hurting, with Snohomish County at 120.7.

But hey, at least no one in the league lives in Whitman County, which sits at 472.8.

The WIAA said if less than 50 percent of schools in a classification in a region are able to compete in a specific sport due to elevated cases, the Executive Board will “adjust the scheduled season in order to allow the chance for greater participation.”

That could mean moving up “low risk” sports such as cross country, while pushing back “high-risk” ones with the hope case numbers will come down as the traditional flu season fades.

Or not.

It’s all a mystery, and likely will remain so until the day things start, or shut down.

For basketball, the WIAA will send out a preliminary update Nov. 27 on where each region is, then make decisions on who can play between Dec. 4-11.

The first day of basketball practice is currently scheduled for Dec. 28.

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The 1925 Coupeville High School yearbook, the fifth in school history. Even with an ongoing pandemic, students plan to keep the tradition alive in 2021. (Jack Sell photo)

It’s a whole new ballgame.

With schools largely restricted to distance learning, and no sports until at least January 2021, thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the way things work have been changed.

But, thanks to one hard-working adviser, and a pack of opportunistic students, Coupeville High School still plans to put out a yearbook.

“We have a group of students who have committed to put together a yearbook this year, despite the obvious challenges,” said CHS yearbook adviser Jackie Saia.

“They are determined to make this a book like no other in CHS history, but they will need the help of the students, parents, and the community as a source for photos and content.”

A website for the yearbook is now live, and, on it, you can find out how to preorder the book.

There’s also info on how to submit photos, as well as creating and purchasing senior congratulatory ads.

The pandemic is throwing everything askew, but keeping alive the yearbook tradition matters both this year, and in the future.

“While distance learning and social distancing is difficult for all, it is certainly unique and is part of our story,” Saia said. “25, 50, 100 years from now, this will be a historical document for your child’s high school year of 2020-2021.

“We hope you can help make it the best publication possible! Thank you!”


For more info, pop over to:


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