The Oahu Interscholastic Association is pushing the start of fall sports back to late September.
The official press release is expected by 11 a.m. today, but three administrative sources confirmed the OIA will take action. All fall sports practices are cancelled until further notice.
The rising rate of COVID-19 cases, spurred by the Delta variant during the pandemic, is the cause for concern.
Preseason games were scheduled to begin on Friday. The OIA’s regular season was slated to start on Aug. 13.
In a letter addressed to parents and dated Aug. 4, 2021, interim DOE Superintendent Keith Hayashi explained the postponement.
“We opened the new school year this week with in-person learning and our highest priority is to ensure all students, including your child, can continue to attend school safely. In the meantime, due to the state’s high positivity rate, the Department is delaying the start of the fall athletic season until Sept. 24 to allow for anyone unvaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated to get inoculated.”
Hayashi also wrote:
“This decision was not made lightly because we know the important role athletics play in a well-rounded education, but we cannot jeopardize the health and safety of our students and communities. The alternative is cancelling the season outright, which we do not want to have to do. We are implementing this layered plan that prioritizes vaccination as the best way to protect against and reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.”
The state’s public high school leagues postponed fall sports, including football, in 2020, due to the pandemic. Fall sports were later cancelled. There has not been an official high school football game in Hawaii since the fall of 2019.
Resumption of fall sports is tentatively set for Sept. 24. Student-athletes will be required to be fully vaccinated to participate.
Preseason football games this weekend between Aiea and Leilehua, and Campbell and Waipahu had already been cancelled due to the virus.