Athletics and COVID-19
February 26, 2021
We are excited to begin hosting athletic contests once again in the Medford School District! As we prepare to play, our priority remains the health and wellness of students, staff and the community. As we have done throughout this pandemic, we will follow and enforce all safety guidelines set by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Jackson County Public Health (JCPH) and the Oregon School Athletics and Activities Association (OSAA).
Unfortunately, due to state and county health restrictions limiting gatherings, there will be no spectators allowed at Southern Oregon Conference (S.O.C.) athletic practices, games, or other events. We will communicate any changes to the spectator policy if state or county restrictions loosen or change. We are very fortunate to have partnerships with Table Rock Sports and Stephens Media Group (formerly Radio Medford) who will livestream/broadcast most varsity games for football, volleyball, and soccer.
Thank you for supporting us in our efforts to give our students/athletes their chance to shine despite the current circumstances!
February 10, 2021
Today, Governor Kate Brown announced that districts can resume contact sports as long as they occur outdoors, which gives a green light for our football programs to resume competition! Because our county is still in “extreme risk,” we will need to provide on-site COVID testing to symptomatic athletes or those identified as “close contacts” (with parent permission), in addition to asking families to opt-in to play with their signature on a waiver.
In addition, we will, of course, continue to adhere to all the safety guidance, including mandatory masking and physical distancing. Currently, volleyball is still prohibited. Soccer and cross country will start on Feb. 22. We are awaiting updated guidance on fine arts.
We appreciate the action of our Board Directors who wrote a letter to Governor Brown regarding letting our students play and perform!
Outdoor Contact Sports Opt-In Forms
January 27th, 2021
High School Update:
Fall sports are scheduled to begin on February 22nd. This includes volleyball, football, soccer and cross country. At this time volleyball and football are prohibited, because of county metics. Soccer and cross country will start on Feb. 22. You can find the latest information about sports on Oregon Schools Activities Association (OSAA) coronavirus webpage.
Middle School Update:
The Southern Oregon Middle School Athletic Conference (SOMSAC) has approved the Conference’s season calendar to start specific outdoor sports in March 2021. SOMSAC member schools are committed to following the safety protocols set forth by the Oregon Health Authority in regards to Outdoor Recreation and Outdoor Fitness Establishments under Executive Order No. 20-66. SOMSAC is committed to providing the safest and most plausible opportunities for athletic participation for all students in SOMSAC member schools. After extensive discussion and collaboration, SOMSAC will plan to offer the following athletic opportunities for middle school students in the spring of 2021:
- SOMSAC will offer Cross Country from March 29 through May 1, pending regulations and guidance set forth by the Governor’s Office and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).
- SOMSAC will offer Track and Field from April 26 through June 5, pending regulations and guidance set forth by the Governor’s Office and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).
The SOMSAC member schools will follow OHA’s sector guidance as it applies to Outdoor Recreation and Outdoor Fitness Establishments (OHA Outdoor) authorized by Executive Order No. 20-66. The SOMSAC conference members will revisit participation for all seasons as a result of updated state guidance or changing risk level metrics as needed, and will communicate changes as necessary.
December 8th, 2020
Oregon Schools Activties Association (OSAA) announces revisions to school sport's calendars. Fall sports are now moved to season two and will begin in February instead of December. Winter sports are now moved from season two to season four. Season four begins around mid-May.
Athletics Director Fred Kondziela says the reason fall sports moved to season two is because they are predominately outdoor sports and more likely to happen in February. Football is still prohibited because it is a high-contact sport. If metrics don't improve, volleyball could be in jeopardy, because it is an indoor sport. Kondziela says this is all pending metrics and further guidance as we get closer to the next sport season.
This year sport participation fees are waived. If middle school sports are approved by the Southern Oregon Middle School Athletic Conference (SOMSAC), participation fees will be waived at that level as well.
December 4th, 2020
The Oregon Health Authority and Governor Brown’s Office have new guidelines for K-12 School Sports. These guidelines are now based on the county’s risk level. It’s no longer tied to our school’s instructional method. Since Jackson County is still in the extreme risk level, nothing has changed for our schools.
Here are some of the updated guidelines:
- Indoor sports/recreation is prohibited in extreme risk counties. Jackson County is one of those.
- Outdoof sports/recreation are allowed in all counties provided maximum capacity limits outlined in the Sector Risk Level Guidance Chart are followed.
- Full contact sports remain prohibited. These include football, wrestling, basketball, contact cheer and contact dance. Training and conditioning may still take place in these prohibited activities provided they don't include full contact of any kind.
- All individuals are required to adhere to Statwide Mask, Face Covering Guidance, including when actively participating.
- Indoor and outdoor swimming pool usage falls unfer country risk level guidance.
November 18th, 2020
The Governor’s Office and Oregon Health Authority posted new statewide freeze guidance for K-12 sports, yesterday, which is effective Wednesday, November 18 through Wednesday, December 2 but could be extended.
The guidance may be summarized as follows per the Oregon School Activities Association:
- Prohibition on all K-12 School Sports indoors, including conditioning, training and competition.
- Outdoor training, conditioning and competition is still allowed for non-contact and minimal/medium contact sports for schools utilizing On-Site, Hybrid, or Comprehensive Distance Learning.
- Outdoor training and conditioning is still allowed for full-contact sports for schools utilizing On-Site, Hybrid, or Comprehensive Distance Learning provided they don’t include full contact of any kind.
- Mask/face coverings must be worn when actively participating in an outdoor sport.
- Closure of indoor and outdoor swimming pools, licensed spa pools and indoor sport courts.
- Limit the maximum capacity for each outdoor K-12 school sporting event to 50 people. Maintain physical distancing of at least six (6) feet per person.
- Individuals are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return to Oregon if they have traveled out of state for recreational purposes or as part of an athletic traveling team.
In summary, any high school sport which occurs indoors, including conditioning, training and competitions, are prohibited for at least the next two weeks, beginning today. Outdoor training and conditioning is still allowable for football. Outdoor training, conditioning and competitions are allowable for softball, baseball, soccer, flag football, tennis, golf, cross country, track and field and sideline (no contact) cheer and dance.
Coaches will be in contact with their respective teams to communicate plans during the two week freeze. Please direct any questions to your child's high school coach should you need clarification. You may also follow up with your school's athletic department.