It took a long, long time, but the Department of Education has finally given the go-ahead to public schools to begin sports workouts for the spring season.
This is amazingly good news for public school athletes all across the state, who have been sidelined by the COVID-19 health crisis for one full year. Previously, only the private-school Interscholastic League of Honolulu had been actively involved with some form of sports in the winter and in the process of planning a season for most spring sports.
Now, the public schools in the Oahu Interscholastic Association, the Kauai Interscholastic Federation, the Big Island Interscholastic Federation, and the Maui Interscholastic League are getting the go-ahead to begin workouts Monday, March 8.
According to a DOE memo, public high schools can start spring sports workouts March 8. (Image credit: KaiserHighSchoolHawaii.org).
In a memo sent out to school administrators, Superintendent of Schools Christina Kishimoto wrote that this green light for athletic workouts is due to the DOE’s shifting to in-person and blended learning models for all students.
“Only high schools delivering in-person or blended learning models of instruction may enable athletic teams to start workouts on campus,” Kishimoto wrote. “Eligible students enrolled at these schools … may participate in the workouts.”
Hawaii public schools will follow a booklet named “Return to Learn: School Reopening Plan-Guidance For Restarting Athletics.”
According to the memo, the booklet was developed with information taken from the Center for Disease Control and the National Federation of State High School Associations as well as the DOE’s Health and Safety Handbook and the Department of Health’s Guidance for Schools during COVID-19.
Normally, spring sports include baseball, golf, judo, softball, tennis, track and field, boys volleyball, and girls water polo.
Starting workouts is a good sign that some or most of these sports will have a season of competition. But there are no guarantees. Scheduling, facilities and safety are still concerns.
The private-school ILH last week gave the go-ahead for official workouts to start in golf, tennis, boys volleyball and girls volleyball (normally a fall sport that the league has moved to the spring). The ILH meets Friday and could possibly choose to OK the start of baseball, softball, track and field, and precision air riflery or it could postpone or cancel those sports.
Last week, the ILH also canceled water polo, judo, kayaking and football (another sport that it was planning to move from fall to spring) for either safety reasons or lack of facilities.
Also, the ILH has been running some form of cross country, sporter air riflery, swimming and diving, tennis and exhibition girls and boys basketball.