BOISE, Idaho — For now, high school sports will continue in Ada County.
This decision comes after Central District Health's (CDH) recommendation to pause Fall athletics to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Administrators from Boise, West Ada and Kuna school districts all received that guidance last week, after CDH moved all three into its red category. This means there is an uncontrolled spread of the COVID-19 virus within the districts.
Because of the substantial community transmission, CDH recommends sports like football, wrestling, competitive cheer and dance, baseball, volleyball, basketball, softball and soccer be paused indefinitely.
The current Ada County health order does not prohibit these sports; this is simply a recommendation from CDH.
“We're seeing cases increase, we want our kids to be in school and we need to find a way to make that happen,” CDH spokesperson Brandon Atkins said on Friday.
Playing these high-contact sports can increase the risk of exposure during a time when COVID-19 cases are rapidly increasing.
“It’s an unnecessary risk so yes, that pause is exactly that,” Atkins said. “Our recommendation is if you are in the red category those events should be paused if they fall into that category.”
Atkins estimates 150 people across the four counties overseen by CDH- Ada, Boise, Elmore and Valley- are in quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure while playing these sports.
“We're still seeing those sporting events put people at a higher risk, we're seeing those reported routinely,” he said. “It’s an unpopular decision, of course, nobody wants to be restricted but we’re looking again at population health and the impacts are on population health rate.”
Right now, the school districts within Ada County plan on finishing out the Fall season. However, there will be some changes.
A spokesperson for the Kuna School District said it will continue to follow safety protocols, but no longer allow fans in the stands.
Boise and West Ada schools plan on continuing fall sports as well, based on a decision by the Southern Idaho Conference.
18 schools make up the Southern Idaho Conference across two classifications. Boise and West Ada schools fall into the 5A category. Kuna falls into the 4A.
Luke Wolf, the Mountain View Athletic Director, said the conference’s athletic directors are working on a recommendation to finish Fall sports, as well as a plan for winter sports. This could mean these sports get pushed back.
Boys’ and girls’ basketball for 5A schools in the conference could be pushed back until mid-November to early December.
Details are still being worked out on wrestling at this time. Nothing is final as of now, but it could be decided as early as this week.
Facts not fear: More on coronavirus
See our latest updates in our YouTube playlist: