Bainbridge High School to temporarily remain in the Olympic Athletic League for the 2021-22 school year.
At the June 8, 2021 School Board Meeting, the school board voted to remain in the Olympic League for the 2021-22 school year for Bainbridge High School athletics.
From January to June 2021, Bainbridge High School athletic teams competed in a modified Olympic League during the modified WIAA seasons. Governor Inslee’s Roadmap to Recovery plan outlined regions that placed Kitsap County schools in the Northwest Region while schools in the Metro League were placed in the Puget Sound Region. Phasing restrictions and limited capacity for transportation to and from Seattle schools would have made it very difficult for BHS teams to compete in the Metro League during these six months of WIAA athletic programming.
For similar reasons (as outlined below), BISD recommended that Bainbridge High School remain temporarily in the Olympic League for the 2021-22 school year.
It's important to reiterate that this league affiliation is a temporary decision. Later next fall, the BISD School Board will revisit our future league affiliation
COVID-19 uncertainties remain. Although COVID rates are improving, the pandemic isn’t over. Remaining in the Olympic League keeps BHS in the same Health District (Kitsap County) with many Olympic League teams, and may increase the chances of maintaining three full seasons of athletics for the upcoming school year. The Olympic League includes Bremerton, Kingston, North Kitsap, North Mason, Olympic, Port Angeles and Sequim.
BISD’s transportation concerns. Competing in the Metro League requires longer trips and BISD bus drivers must remain in Seattle during competitions. BISD transportation department operates with limited staff and competing in the Olympic League provides the BISD transportation department with more flexibility (without relying on the ferry) and allows drivers to complete additional routes. In addition, if COVID rates spike and BISD is forced to pivot back to a hybrid-learning model, it would be nearly impossible for BISD bus drivers to travel to the Seattle area for weekday competitions because the hybrid schedule ends later in the afternoon than the regular schedule.
Metro League schools are not able to commit to traveling to Bainbridge Island. Just as BISD is navigating transportation concerns (outlined above), the Metro League can not commit to participating in athletic competitions on Bainbridge Island during the 2021-2022 school year due to transportation issues. Metro League leadership has shared with BISD that the lack of available bus drivers in Seattle Public Schools and the high cost of contracting with charter bus companies will severely impact their ability to send Seattle student-athletes to Bainbridge High School to compete. This would mean that BHS teams would have to travel to Seattle for all competitions - both home and away.
The Board voted 5-0 on this decision.