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Athletics Health Safety

Summary: Pending no change in state or county guidelines, sporting events will be open to a limited number of spectators beginning March 19.

Student Athletes COVID-19 Health Safety

To help ensure that our student athletes can continue to excel in their sport and compete in upcoming tournaments, Seattle Public Schools continues to follow the guidance of the Department of Health for masking and testing.

There have been some updates to this guidance. Please carefully review the following changes. We thank you for your continued cooperation and commitment to keeping our students, athletes, and community safe and healthy.

Middle School and K-8 Athletes

Middle School sports are back. Here’s what you need to know: 

Winter Season

  • Competitions begin March 5.  
  • The winter season will end April 2.  
  • Competitions are held on Saturdays. 
  • COVID Testing is required 24 hours prior to competition. Testing will be conducted in buildings on Friday. Please ensure you have completed the “Rapid Antigen Test Consent Form”.  
  • Pending no change in state or county guidelines, sporting events will be open to a limited number of spectators beginning March 19. 

Spring Season

  • Spring sports (Boys Soccer, Track, Volleyball) begin April 4.  
  • The spring season will end June 11.  
  • Please ensure your athlete’s paperwork is up to date with your school’s athletic coordinator.  
  • Currently, there are no COVID testing requirements for middle school spring sports. 

COVID-19 Testing Middle School Athletes for Winter Sports

To maintain and support the health and safety of our student-athletes, their families, and our communities, Seattle Public Schools will require that all athletes be tested on the Friday afternoon before a Saturday game day to be eligible to play.

  • Testing will take place at school.
  • The test is a self-collected nasal swab.
  • Designated district staff are trained to observe specimen collection and read the results.
  • No at-home or over-the-counter tests will be accepted. (please note, athletes is an exception to recent changes in district testing guidance.)
  • No 72-hour negative tests will be accepted.  

Spectators at Middle School Athletic Events

Spectators will not be allowed at the games; however, programs will be allowed to have two (2) media representatives at each game to film for their communities. 

Return to Play Updates: In addition to the updated testing requirements, there are also updates to guidelines on when an athlete can return to play. Please carefully review these guidelines.


High School Athletes

COVID-19 Testing and Masking for High School Athletes

  1. Testing of athletes three times a week is no longer required.
  2. Instead, all athletes participating in high-risk sports will be tested on the day of competition.
    1. Anyone who tests positive will be excluded from the competition and required to isolate. Please note that if an athlete tests positive on February 1, they cannot participate in competition on February 4. They must complete their 5 full days of isolation. Athletes with verified COVID-19 infection after January 1, 2022, and that have completed their required isolation period are not required to test.   
  3. Please read more about district masking guidance.

High risk winter sports are basketball, wrestling, water polo, and indoor cheer.

Spectators at High School Athletics Events

Anyone planning to attend an athletic event at an SPS facility must follow these health and safety protocols:

  • Provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination for all individuals 5 years and older or a negative test taken in the last 72 hours for indoor athletic events. Eligible individuals must be fully vaccinated. Valid forms of proof include a vaccination card, photo of vaccination card, or digital record from MyIRMobile.com or other app.

Spectators for high school sports in SPS facilities is now at 0% – 50% capacity depending on the sport and facility.

  • Basketball: Range from 25% – 50% of gym capacity depending upon the school.
  • Gymnastics: Range from no spectators to 50% gym capacity depending upon the school.
  • Boys Swimming: No spectators permitted (Per Seattle Parks Department policy).
  • Wrestling: Range from no spectators to 50% gym capacity depending upon the school.

Return To Play

In addition to the updated testing requirements, there are also updates to guidelines on when an athlete can return to play. Please carefully review these guidelines.

Athletes Who Test Positive

Athletes who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate at home for 5 full days.

They can return on day 6 if:

  • They have had no fever within the past 24 hours without medications and
  • Symptoms have significantly improved and
  • They continue to wear a well-fitted mask around others for an additional 5 days, including during practices and competitions and
  • They do not have a positive result from a test administered day 6-10. Athletes who test positive day 6-10 must isolate at home through day 10.
Unvaccinated Athletes Who are a Close Contact

Unvaccinated athletes who are close contacts to someone who tests positive for COVID-19, must quarantine at home for 5 full days since the last day of close contact.

They can return on day 6 if:

  • They do not have any symptoms and
  • They test negative on or after day 5 since last close contact and
  • They continue to wear a well-fitted mask around others for an additional 5 days, including during practices and competitions and
  • They monitor for symptoms for 10 days after close contact
Illustration of two hands holding a heart

COVID-19 Health Safety

Visit the district COVID-19 Health Safety webpage for the latest in-person/remote learning updates, information, and FAQs.

Learn more on the COVID health safety resource page

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