ADA COUNTY, Idaho — As of right now, with the West Ada School District in Category Red, athletics can practice, but no competitions are allowed.
Each school district was given guidelines from the governor, the IHSSA and their conferences. But, ultimately, each district is allowed to create its own plan as long as it's approved by the school board and created with guidance from Central District Health.
So, what does this mean for sports in West Ada?
"People are up in arms about, 'Should you be playing, should you not be playing?' Our kids are better off with us right now than if we just said, 'sorry folks we are done and aren't doing sports,' but it's a balancing act," said West Ada Activities Director, Jason Warr.
He said that right now, it's about balancing two things: giving their kids the opportunity to play while not putting them at risk. With the success they've had mitigating COVID-19 so far, he said that he's optimistic competitions will start soon.
"Everything was supposed to start going this week, but if we can get going by next week or the following week, we will be okay," said Warr. "We'll figure it out. We will figure out how to create opportunities for these kids to play."
Ultimately, CDH will have to give them the go-ahead to play, and the school board will have to approve their plan, but are they ready for games to start?
"If you ask our kids, yes, and I feel we are," said Warr. "In the end, we have put steps in place to allow our kids to go to a game and compete. Is there a chance that someone can have symptoms? Yes, but we have a plan in place to minimize the opportunities for exposure."
It gets tricky since their schedules include games against other school districts. But, if it comes down to it, Warr said that if they get the go-ahead to play and other districts aren't ready yet, the five teams in West Ada will play each other.
His goal is to let the student-athletes compete as soon as possible in the safest way.
"There's a reason why kids play sports, and it might be to help me be more successful in school, and it's what they need. It might be their motivation, and I hope people understand that our role is to help kids succeed," Warr said.
A fall without sports, he said, would be tragic for their student-athletes.
"It's like an iceberg, and the top of it was COVID, and underneath it were all the underlying issues that we're facing; the mental and emotional health of our kids, the physical fitness, just the opportunity to get out and do a cardio activity and the opportunity to be a part of sports," he said. "We see the tip of it, but underneath there are a lot of underlying things, and we just have to keep that into consideration. The tip is dangerous, and so is the underlying stuff.
Warr will present their plan to the school board on September 1, where they will decide when or if competitions can begin again.
To watch the meeting live, click here.