We, the coaches of the West Coast Coaches Alliance, represent coaches from Washington, Oregon and California. We organized ourselves in November of 2020 as we seek to build a unified, bipartisan, and nonviolent movement to advocate for student-athletes to return to play!
We ask that the lawmakers and decision-makers in our three states, strongly consider the beliefs, points and suggestions that we make in this paper. We believe that they are written in the best interest of 1,135,000 student-athletes from California, Oregon and Washington.
We believe that the COVID-19 virus is real. We believe that this virus can be deadly. We believe the national statistics that show that there are certain people groups with predispositions in our society that are especially vulnerable to the worst parts of this virus. We write these beliefs, points and suggestions with all due respect for this virus, and the havoc that it has caused in our three states.
We ask that our lawmakers and decision-makers ask their peers in more than 40 states who allowed their student-athletes to participate in sports this Fall season for their guidance and advice on how they made this happen, and more importantly for their data in the spread of COVID-19 due to education-based athletics (meaning athletics managed by high schools, not clubs or independent agents) taking place this Fall. Did these states find that education-based athletics was a source for the spread of this virus in their communities? We have a road map to look back on, pure data from these states. We do not need to guess about the impact of high school athletics on communities and in states.
We ask our lawmakers and decision-makers to consider the significant benefits of thousands and thousands and thousands of games that have been played, and student-athletes who have played them before making final decisions about the state of athletics in our three states. We strongly believe that the cost-benefit analysis weighs heavily on the side of allowing student-athletes to return to play.
We believe what the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about COVID-19 and children in that “Limited data about COVID-19 in children suggest that children are less likely to get COVID-19 than adults, and when they do get COVID-19, they generally have less serious illness than adults.”
We also believe the CDC statement that “some children may be at increased risk of getting COVID-19 or may be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.” We believe that for these student-athletes, their parents and guardians may wish to keep them at home, and away from sports at this time.
We strongly believe the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in their “School Decision-Making Tool For Parents, Caregivers and Guardians” document that says in part:
“As you are making decisions about your child(ren) returning to school, it is important to consider the full spectrum of risks involved in both in-person and virtual learning options. Parents, guardians, and caregivers should weigh the relative health risks of COVID-19 transmission from in-personal instruction against the educational, social-behavioral, and emotional risks of providing no in-person instruction when deciding between these two options. Aside from a child’s home, no other setting has more influence on a child’s health and well-being than the school. The in-person school environment not only provides educational instruction, but supports a child’s social and emotional skills, safety, speech, mental health, reliable nutrition, and opportunities for physical activity. This tool is designed to help weigh the risks and benefits of available educational options to help you make decisions about sending your child back to school.”
We believe that athletics plays a vital role in the life of each and every student-athlete in many ways including, but not limited to, giving them opportunities to learn life skills that will go far beyond the fields and courts, provide social-emotional support from their leaders as well as peers, and help to shape their bodies physically, minds mentally and souls spiritually.
We believe that student-athletes have had a very difficult time in a wide variety of ways since the middle of March 2020. Through no fault of their own, these student-athletes have had their lives upended by being forced to stay at home for their education, and not being able to participate in their “regular daily life,” including sports, like thousands and thousands of their peers nationwide have.
We believe that student-athletes should have the right to participate in education-based athletics at their high schools in which County health officials have deemed it appropriate. We encourage our three states to allow for local counties to make these decisions according to current infection rates, hospitalization rates and death rates.
We believe that local county control, not state control, is the most appropriate way to make a decision on the viability of education-based athletics happening this school year. We are concerned that states will take away opportunities in some parts of the state where it is safe to play sports, thus the reliance on local health department control.
We, the coaches of the WCCA, suggest to the lawmakers and decision-makers of California, Oregon and Washington that coaches and schools should follow these guidelines as we attempt to return to the playing fields and courts of our three great states.
All coaches should complete the COVID-19 Certification for Coaches and Administrators by the National Federation of High Schools before returning to practice or games.
All coaches and schools should follow the COVID-19 protocols set forth by the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee of the National Federation of High Schools “Guidance for Opening Up High School Athletics and Activities.”
All coaches should follow their county’s guidance on the wearing of masks at every practice and contest.
We believe that workouts, in cohorts and without equipment, should be allowed to happen when local counties in each of our states deem that they are appropriate based on the current trends of positivity rates, hospitalizations and deaths
We believe that practices, with no cohorts, and with equipment, should be allowed to happen when local counties in each of our states deem that they are appropriate based on the current trends of positivity rates, hospitalizations and deaths.
We believe that games should be allowed to happen when local counties in each of our states deem that they are appropriate based on the current trends of positivity rates, hospitalizations and deaths.
We believe that county health offices should work with our local high school athletic governing bodies to determine appropriate protocols for when there are members of a team, including the coaching staff, who are positive with COVID-19, including but not limited to the cancellation or postponement of games.
We believe that every effort should be made in the best interest of our student-athletes only, not any other local or state political parties or unions who may have a specific interest in student-athletes having or not having the ability to play the games they love.