High school football given path to return in Oregon

Gov. Kate Brown announced Wednesday that the Oregon Health Authority is revising its guidance for outdoor sports as well as its exemption for college sports, the Eugene Register-Guard reported.

In other words, there is now a path for high school football to return to the field, as well as all other prep sports and lower division college sports.

Beginning this week, outdoor contact sports can resume with teams asked to follow the COVID-19 health and safety protocols already in place by each county.

For extreme-risk counties like Lane and Marion, additional protocols must be put in place, such as on-site testing, contact-tracing information, and isolation and quarantine procedures.

Season 2 for the Oregon School Activities Association was scheduled to start Monday with the first day of football practice. Most schools have been conducting socially distant conditioning practices as they awaited a decision by Brown. High school soccer and cross country were already cleared to return with their start date set for Feb. 22.

There have been no high school sports in Oregon since state basketball tournaments were canceled in mid-March 2020. Until Wednesday’s decision, Oregon and California were the only two states that neither played a high school football season nor had a plan to play.

“To all of Oregon’s high school athletes: I am asking you to now be leaders in your communities,” Brown said Wednesday. “We’ve given you a chance to play, but with that opportunity comes great responsibility. 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.”

— Chris Hansen, The Register-Guard (Eugene, Ore.)

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