Sunday, Dec. 03, 2023|
Share this story
If the devil truly is in the details, than Hawaii high school athletic administrators might want to roll up their sleeves.
The Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive board and BIIF athletic directors each will hold meetings Friday as decision-makers across the state chart a path forward after the Department of Education mandated vaccinations for COVID-19 and suspended six high school seasons some seven-plus weeks.
A few of the top priorities on the agenda for the HHSAA – BIIF president Dean Cevallos, the Keaau High principal, and executive secretary Lyle Crozier are on the executive board – figure to be to come up with a uniform restart date, whether (and how) to shorten the fall seasons and to reschedule the state tournaments for the six delayed sports.
The DOE put the new start date at Sept. 24, “but it’s not like we’re going to pick up from where we were, and on (Sept. 25) you can play a game,” Waiakea High athletic director Tom Correa said. “From (Sept. 24) there is going to be an acclimatization period before you get to play.
For football, “my guess right now is you’re going to get five days of conditioning and 10 days of pads before you can play a contest,” he said.
That criteria could push the league’s first football contests until mid-October. The five other sports – girls volleyball, cross-country, air riflery, bowling and competitive cheer – presumably could start competition sooner, but the state tournaments for those sports are currently scheduled to wrap up by the end of October.
Just how long administrators decide to extend the fall seasons will have an impact on the winter and spring seasons. All sports, except football, on the HHSAA calendar for 2021-22 are given increments of 13 to 15 weeks to complete their seasons (start of practice to the end of state tournaments).
“Logically you would think if we lose weeks at the front, we take three weeks off (the winter and spring seasons), so everybody would get 10 weeks,” Correa said.
“You would hope we’re going somewhere in that direction.”
For now, private schools such as Kamehameha and Hawaii Prep are free to practice since they don’t fall under the DOE’s umbrella, but Kamehameha athletic director Kimo Weaver said that could change if the HHSAA or BIIF vote to place restrictions on member schools.
Hawaii Prep athletic director Stephen Perry was caught off guard by the timing of the DOE’s decision.
“I just kind of feel like we’ve all let the kids down,” he said. “We could have done this a few months ago. It’s not fair to the students who have been vaccinated and have done what we’ve asked them to do.”
Perry noted that the suspension of the fall season could have a ripple effect on the spring sports, which already have been canceled twice, first during the initial shutdown in March of 2020 and then again last school year.
“If anything, I’d like some consideration to be given to those (spring) sports,” he said. “Let them have a full season.”
Correa said the DOE was following Department of Health guidelines regarding positivity rates – a measure that was surpassed by the recent surge in COVID-19 cases – when it enacted it vaccination mandate.
“I think there is agreement this needs to be done,” he said. “In terms of timing and logistics and how it was rolled out, I’m sure stuff could gave been improved.”
As far as managing the mandate, Correa said he’s already told parents there are two options: get a vaccination or get an exemption, such as for medial or religious reasons.
“You can’t just say my kid is not going to get a vaccination, he’s going to get tested,” Correa said. “That won’t work. And even if you do get an exemption, you’re still getting tested.”
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *