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At long last, high school sports are set to officially return to the Big Island.
The Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) has released targeted start dates and the state tournament schedule for the upcoming 2021-22 school year. Football will lead the way with a July 19 start date for season-opening practices. The rest of the fall sports — girls volleyball, cross country, air riflery, bowling and cheerleading — are set to begin on Aug. 2.
“It’s great. For the last year, there’s been a lot of question marks about everything,” said Kealakehe athletic director Alan Vogt. “It’s nice to have this go-ahead. We’re eager to get back.”
While modified competitions were held on the Big Island for the latest winter and spring seasons, there were no BIIF championships, no state titles and no official records kept. The winter 2019-20 season marked the last time state tournaments have been held in Hawaii, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fall HHSAA-sanctioned state tournaments will begin Oct. 25 with girls volleyball and conclude Nov. 26 or 27 with championship games in football. Sites for most championships are still to be determined.
A few question marks still remain, however, regarding specific protocols for sports.
“We’re just waiting for some more clarification from the DOE as far as guidelines,” Vogt said. “We’re also waiting for some clarification from the governor, too. That seems to be evolving daily; I don’t know if we’re waiting for certain percentages as far as vaccination to make these announcements, but it’s been kind of a waiting game.”
Per Gov. David Ige’s June 7 announcement, groups of up to 75 will be allowed to gather once the state achieves a 60% vaccination rate, and all COVID restrictions will be terminated upon achieving a 70% vaccination rate. According to Hawaii’s Department of Health, 57% of the state’s total population has been fully vaccinated as of Friday.
Fall season starting dates
Football: July 19
Girls volleyball, cross-country, air riflery, bowling, cheerleading: Aug. 2