By The Seattle Times and Union-Bulletin
RENTON, Wash. — The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) announced Monday it would continue to host the state basketball tournaments around the state this week despite fears from the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2, and COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.
The six state basketball tournaments begin Wednesday at three venues across the state.
Pomeroy’s girls team is the lone area team competing at state this year, at the Class 1B tournament in Spokane.
The top-ranked Pirates enjoy a bye on Wednesday, and open play against the winner of the Naselle-Curlew game, being played on Wednesday, at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.
The Class 4A and 3A tournaments are at the Tacoma Dome.
The Class 2A and 1A tournaments are at the Yakima Valley SunDome, and the Class 2B and 1B tournaments are at the Spokane Arena.
WIAA executive director Mick Hoffman said the Washington State Department of Health recommended against canceling or postponing the tournaments.
“They’re the experts,” Hoffman said. “They’re the ones with the research and the science.”
The WIAA also asked the Department of Health for recommendations on how to keep the tournaments healthy.
The WIAA said in a news release it has worked with the three venues to disinfect “high-touch areas” with disinfectant approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, and it will provide hand sanitizer stations.
The WIAA is also encouraging attendees to heed Department of Health advice for large events and to spread out in the stands as possible.
The state tournaments run through Saturday night with the final championship game tipping off at 9 p.m.
The state basketball tournament, or Hardwood Classic, is one of the biggest events the WIAA hosts each year along with state football, Gridiron Classic, and state wrestling, which is called Mat Classic.
“There’s a lot of kids who worked really hard, and we’re not going to be so overcautious that we impact kids the other way when it’s not necessary,” Hoffman said.