by Ryan Wilson
Orcas School District Athletic Director
It is with great pleasure and optimism that we are providing the following information as we plan for the return of athletic competition for our high school student-athletes. It has been a long journey, and one that we are most likely not through with yet, but at least we have some positive progress to getting back to some normalcy.
The reason for this letter is twofold: to explain how Orcas Island and its league (Northwest 1B/2B) will move forward with plans for athletic competition; and to appeal to you, our community, to support the decisions and policies that our League and our School District have made in order for athletic competition to occur in a safe manner and to give our kids a chance to play.
First and foremost, our league’s focal point in decision-making has been safely getting our student-athletes back on the playing field/court. It was not about creating opportunities for league, district or state championships.
While we are all competitive in nature and we want those opportunities for our students and school, this year is much more about participation and the opportunity to compete at all. It was in that vein that we created shortened seasons that offered game opportunities, and yes, the possibility of a League championship, but most importantly we have provided our kids with a chance to play.
This year is not going to be the same as every other year: officials are struggling with membership, all of our current plans are still very tentative and it is very possible that games or seasons may have to be canceled or drastically changed. All of this is and continues to be driven by COVID-19 guidelines and safety protocols that are necessary to control the spread of this virus.
Not everything we will do during our seasons will be popular but it is what our schools and Athletic Departments are required to follow in order for our kids to have the opportunity to play.
What will all of this mean for families and spectators?
• No away/visiting fans are currently allowed at any athletic event; this is a Northwest 1B/2B League policy. We will review this policy as each new sports season begins. This does create the possibility that parents will have to transport their children and not be able to attend competitions.
• We require masks to be worn at all times while on our campus or in our facilities. If a mask is not being worn you’ll be asked to leave.
• We will ask that you practice social distancing while watching and stay a minimum of 6 feet apart from anyone who is not part of your immediate household.
• Spectators will be limited for viewing athletic events.
• We have a limit of 200 total people at all events, this includes teams, coaches, officials, and workers at the events
• We will have a process in place that will address how people can attend events or view events digitally.
While this step forward for our student-athletes is still far from a return to “normal,” we are excited that it creates an opportunity for our students, especially our seniors, to play.
Please read, respect and follow the guidelines, work with us and understand that of all years, this is the year that we put the emphasis on our kids getting to play games for the sake of fun and enjoyment and we are going to work together to ensure that we do this safely.