UPDATE: A previous version of this story stated that Aug. 14 would be the start date for high school football preseason practices to begin. The HHSAA has since told KHON2 that Aug. 17 is the new planned start date.
The HHSAA has set target dates for a return to high school sports, starting with football camps opening on Monday, Aug. 17 and fall sports starting on Aug. 31, with football kicking off on the weekend of Sept. 4.
HHSAA executive director Chris Chun tells KHON2 that the plan for the fall, winter and spring seasons will be for each to run at an 11-week timetable instead of the typical 14.
“I think they take the approach that the simplest, straightforward (route) works the best. As creative as we wanted to be and started moving things around, what they saw is ‘Hey, let’s try to work on three seasons, keeping it as is,’” Chun said. “Just coming to that agreement, it’s great to see everyone on the same page, working together and willing to do what’s best to get the kids out there safely and as soon as possible.
“Finally, we’ll have a calendar to say ‘Hey, let’s go reserve this venue and see if we can get this event.’ We can actually get into the planning and the scheduling.”
Even if these plans are tentative, they still offer hope to those eager to get back on their community’s fields and courts.
“It’s exciting news for a lot of people within the community, students, parents, they just want something to happen but yet at the same time, I know everybody is erring on the side of caution,” Kahuku football coach Sterling Carvalho said. “But to at least have some glimmer of hope return back to something normal, it’s exciting.”
Meanwhile, the tentative date for spring sports to finish in 2021 is targeted for April 18 and could be pushed back as late as May 16.
The 11-week seasons will allow for flexibility in scheduling. Chun says the start date for football could be pushed all the way back to Oct. 5 while fall sports could start as late as Oct. 19. If it is still not appropriate to kick off sports by then, Chun acknowledges the state will have to “get creative” but will adjust accordingly, including the possibility of not running three seasons.
All of the above scenarios are contingent upon the competition aligning with Hawaii’s state, city and county guidelines as it works towards reopening the state following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I knew that this is something that in tough times, people come together and rally around and it’s just the Aloha spirit,” Chun said. “Everyone’s gonna get what they can to get something done and play. That’s kind of why spring this year was so disappointing, because we couldn’t figure out a way to get the spring seniors out there on the field. I know we’re gonna do whatever it takes that it doesn’t happen to the fall, winter and spring students next year.”