Winter Sports Health Safety

Summary: Student athletes can participate in winter sports, however to begin the winter season as safely as possible, audiences will be limited.

Winter Sports Health Safety Protocols

Effective Wednesday, November 24, 2021, Metro League (Seattle Public School’s athletic conference) will be limiting spectators at all high school athletic games/contests. Middle and K-8 school athletics will not allow fans for this season’s basketball games.

The district follows the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) guidelines governing athletics, which takes directive from the Department of Health’s safety requirements.

As the winter sports season moves forward, Seattle Public Schools is reminding everyone about the importance of staying safe at indoor athletic competitions.

High School Game Spectator Policy

  • Verification of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test (for anyone 5 years and older) will be required for entry to watch high school games. Please note: The standard for vaccination clearance is two (2) weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two (2) weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.
    • Valid forms of verification include (View these verification forms on a King County Dept of Health):
      • A physical or photo of a vaccination card
      • A physical or digital record from or other app
      • A negative COVID test taken in the last 72 hours: SPS will also accept a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours of the event. This test must include the name and birthdate of the attendee.
      • Children 0 to 4 years old do not need to provide a negative test or vaccination status.
  • Identification must be provided to accompany the verification of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test
  • Masking is required: Universal masking is required for individuals 5 years of age and older. Masks must always fully cover an individual’s mouth and nose. 
  • Social Distancing/Capacity: Depending upon the school and the sport, maximum spectators occupancy at these events is 25% to 50%. Each school will provide its specific attendance requirements to visiting school teams.
  • Cancelations and Schedule Changes: Additionally, staffing challenges have led to difficulties in hiring officials and providing enough staff to oversee COVID protocols at indoor athletic events. The shortage of officials may lead to the cancelation of games, and school staff shortages may lead to games being streamed online only without in-person attendance. Schools will provide communication about all changes or cancelations before any scheduled event.

Capacity Guidance

Each school (host) site will communicate their capacity to the visiting school’s athletic director, who is responsible for communicating to their families and community.

  • Basketball Games: Range from 25-50% of gym capacity depending upon the school.
    • Please note: Admission will be charged for the 2021-2022 school year
    • Please note: C-Team basketball games played on Saturdays will not have any spectators. Spectators will be allowed on Tuesday and Wednesday games preceding JV/Varsity games
  • 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

Please note these protocols will be continually evaluated throughout the season and may be adjusted by the Metro League at any time.

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