Spring Sports Given OK to Practice
By Rick Schonely, Sports Reporter
Athletic workouts for high school spring sports can begin on Monday, March 8, Maui Interscholastic League executive board president Jamie Yap confirmed last Thursday. The status of when and if competition can commence will be determined by the MIL athletic directors soon. Yap said he expects MIL executive director Joe Balangitao to convene a meeting of athletic directors soon.
Yap is very encouraged by the news. He said he feels it is crucial to get the spring sports onto the field in some sense because that season was the first to be canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic last March.
The state Dept. of Education also released safety guidelines last week as athletic programming resumes. In order to start workouts this week, high schools must meet a couple of criteria. The school must be holding either an in-person or blended learning instruction; and the school’s athletic activity must align with DOH’s learning guidelines by island, based on daily average COVID-19 cases and positivity rate.
For all athletic practices, social distancing and mask wearing guidelines must be followed at all times, according to the DOE. Health screenings must take place before workouts or practices. Gathering limitations must be in accordance with state and county orders. All athletic facilities must implement an adequate cleaning schedule, and equipment should be wiped down thoroughly before and after use. Finally, all students must bring their own water bottle; no hydration stations are permitted.
While safety is key, officials acknowledge resuming athletics is important.
“It is essential to the physical and mental well-being of students that they be able to return to athletic activities,” DOE Deputy Superintendent Phyllis Unebasami said. “This is the first step in our gradual approach to restarting high school athletics in Hawaii.”
While workouts and practices have been given the green light, the status of interscholastic competition remains to be determined by individual leagues.