Governor Brown okays outdoor contact sports for high schools and colleges

Governor Kate Brown reversed direction on Wednesday, allowing for outdoor contact sports at the K-12 and college level to resume with precautions in place.

Posted: Feb 10, 2021 12:19 PM
Updated: Feb 10, 2021 4:48 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown abruptly reversed direction on Wednesday, allowing for outdoor contact sports at the high school and college level to resume with precautions in place.

“This has been a difficult year for Oregon’s youth athletes and, as our COVID-19 numbers have dropped, I have been committed to working with our health experts to reevaluate our protocols for sports,” said Governor Brown. “School sports play an important role in fostering students’ mental, emotional, and physical health. We will proceed with caution, to ensure that teams are following health and safety precautions to protect our athletes, their families, and their communities.”

Brown's office said that outdoor contact sports will be allowed to resume this week "with health and safety protocols in place." The extent of those protocols hinges on each county's risk level as assigned by the state.

In Lower Risk and Moderate Risk counties, practices and games for outdoor contact sports — including high school football — can resume following forthcoming health and safety guidance from the Oregon Health Authority.

In High and Extreme Risk counties, schools and other sports organizations will be allowed to "opt-in" for resuming outdoor sports with stricter measures. In those counties — including Jackson, Josephine, and Klamath — teams must offer on-site rapid testing for people with symptoms, gather contact information for any required contact tracing, and agree to a waiver acknowledging the health and safety risks "and a commitment to isolation and quarantine if exposed to COVID-19."

Schools in those higher-risk counties must also have at least limited in-person learning ongoing "with the goal of achieving hybrid or full in-person instruction for students this school year," and must also be in compliance with the state's guidance for COVID-19 testing.

The Medford School Board penned a letter to Brown and state officials last week, urging them to allow for athletics and other extracurricular activities to resume — pointing to the number of other states that have loosened restrictions.

“To all of Oregon’s high school athletes: I am asking you now to be leaders in your communities. We’ve given you the chance to play, but with that opportunity comes great responsibility," Brown said. "If COVID-19 numbers spike, we may have to shut down contact sports again. When you are off the field, set the example for your peers: wear a mask, maintain physical distance, and avoid social gatherings."

OHA is also updating its exemptions for college sports, allowing the state, allowing Division 2, Division 3, and NAIA schools to submit health and safety plans to resume college athletics. Those teams will have to meet the same standards currently in place for Division 1 programs.

“It is not lost on me that this decision today will allow high school football to resume, when too many high school classrooms across Oregon remain empty," Brown continued. "To all the parents of student athletes and coaches who have called and emailed me in the last year asking for school sports to resume, I am challenging you now to devote your energy to making sure in-person academics can resume for your kids, too. If our school gyms, fields, and weight rooms are to reopen, we owe it to Oregon’s children to make sure our classrooms, libraries, and science labs fully reopen as well.”

This is a developing story and will be updated with more details as they emerge.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 396501

Reported Deaths: 5268
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah61066850
Washington42631406
Marion40277517
Clackamas33256388
Lane30473363
Jackson25211363
Deschutes23984192
Umatilla15155184
Linn14966184
Douglas13608295
Josephine10357248
Yamhill9878145
Klamath9120152
Polk8347103
Benton622940
Malheur593592
Coos5806109
Columbia441156
Jefferson426066
Lincoln367952
Crook343958
Union341456
Wasco319646
Clatsop265435
Baker222533
Tillamook219846
Hood River217237
Morrow198425
Curry194239
Harney121733
Grant109116
Lake106318
Wallowa76313
Sherman1933
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1161
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5127121

Reported Deaths: 74911
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles153745027248
San Diego4104514351
Riverside3912955388
San Bernardino3784085998
Orange3367395771
Sacramento1699162460
Kern1588341838
Fresno1581872284
Santa Clara1536961933
Alameda1262241513
San Joaquin1084911837
Ventura1049251194
Contra Costa1046451058
Stanislaus922291434
Tulare869791102
San Francisco57458674
San Mateo56861631
Monterey52973626
Solano48014360
Santa Barbara47846555
Merced45506672
Sonoma43609414
Placer42736473
Imperial39148778
Kings35547369
San Luis Obispo31803360
Madera26511311
Shasta26353462
Butte25690320
Santa Cruz22540224
Yolo21792263
Marin18728249
El Dorado18544168
Sutter14691186
Napa13501107
Yuba1084791
Humboldt10360119
Tehama10329133
Nevada10187105
Mendocino873799
Lassen801259
San Benito793979
Tuolumne782691
Lake7073113
Amador583267
Siskiyou480757
Glenn460336
Calaveras449988
Del Norte380442
Colusa329821
Inyo259446
Plumas19679
Mono19274
Mariposa163318
Trinity102117
Modoc7956
Unassigned3820
Sierra2210
Alpine1080
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