Insight, News, and Opinion by Nick Abramo
  • March 3, 2021
Hawaii Is Among Only Five States With 2020 High School Athletics On Hold, But December Workouts Might Happen

The Hawaii High School Athletic Association has officially asked the Department of Health for permission to start sports workouts in early December.

If (and only IF) the go-ahead is granted by the DOH, sports around the state will be held in two abbreviated seasons — January to March, and March to May. An answer may come as soon as next week, but there is no guarantee that a green light will come. HHSAA executive director Chris Chun will be regularly meeting on Zoom with key health officials, according to Natalie Iwamoto of the HHSAA.

The logistics of facilitating the sports will be no easy task if they happen at all during the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be a lot of precautions and social distancing and other health procedures.

If sports do happen, public school athletes would return to campus for practice sessions only while continuing distance learning. Many private school athletes have already returned to campus for classes.

Across the nation, 2020 high school athletics are on hold in five states — Hawaii, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon and California. New Mexico actually began its fall seasons, but has since halted them.

Kealakehe came to Oahu in 2019 to play against Pearl City. But there has been
no football played in Hawaii in 2019. There is a proposal to play the next
football season from March to May, 2021. (Photo by Elijah Abramo).

In Hawaii, the proposed January to March varsity season includes basketball, bowling, cheerleading, cross country, soccer, swimming and diving, and wrestling, with the March to May season proposal for baseball, softball, football, golf, judo, tennis, track and field, volleyball, kayaking and water polo.<br><br>Having enough fields and gyms and venues to support all of these sports happening at the same time is a logistical concern.

The HHSAA, which oversees state tournaments, has been working as a communication liaison between Hawaii’s five autonomous leagues and the DOH and Department of Education during the pandemic.

According to Iwamoto, the HHSAA — if sports get the go-ahead by the DOH — will be making a future decision on whether or not to hold state tournaments in 2021.

Holding state tournaments with participating teams from all of the eight islands would pose another logistical problem, with the difficulty of traveling teams having to quarantine and get tested for the virus added to the already burdensome airplane flight.

On the positive side, according to Iwamoto, the data gathered by the National Federation of State High School Associations so far indicates that the sports being held in the 46 other states and Washington, D.C. has not contributed to community-wide spreads of the virus.

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