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High school sports in limbo amid COVID-19 pandemic


The Sentinel is making its coronavirus coverage available to all readers, with no subscription required. Please consider a digital subscription for just $3.99/mo. to support local news in Citrus Heights.

By Marcus D. Smith–
The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) held a meeting over the weekend discussing the future of the spring season for high school athletics around the state determining the fate of schools in the San Juan Unified School District.

Amid concerns of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, spring athletics, along with the school year have been put on hold for the time being.

“The biggest issue is everything is unknown,” said Mesa Verde High School Athletic Director Kevin Anderson. “The only information we have right now is school is closed, practices are cancelled, games are cancelled, team meetings are cancelled, [and] team get togethers.”

The virus that has turned everything into a frenzy has everyone on edge to wonder the same thing: what happens next?

*Local sports coverage on The Sentinel is made possible by our paid subscribers and generous support from Stones Gambling Hall.*

The CIF eventually came together to make a decision to continue to wait the virus out, in hopes that a vaccine will become available soon. This isn’t necessarily what happens everyday, it’s brand new and the health of the kids is far greater than the game itself.

CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti released a statement on March 17, stating:

“While the time may come when we have to cancel post-season events, today is not that day. In anticipation of further guidance and directives issued by federal, state and local government agencies regarding COVID-19, the CIF has not determined the future of spring sports events at this time and intends to reconvene with the 10 Section Commissioners on April 3 to revisit this issue. Pending that time, Sections will continue to confer with their local leadership and the State CIF will continue to monitor any directives and recommendations issued from the above entities.”

Ron Nocetti, CIF executive director

The “directives and recommendations” mentioned consisted of many things forbidding contact with one another as a prevention tactic for the virus that has led to a global pandemic.

“Coaches are not supposed to have the kids anywhere on campus. They’re not [supposed] to get together at the park, or the bowling alley, or anywhere else until further notice,” said Anderson.

They can still provide tutorial videos, workouts, film they can watch in order to keep their minds sharp on the game during this hiatus.

For the kids at Mesa Verde High School particularly, they will still be able to stay atop of their studies, as the teachers will be available for questions about any work that they may need to complete.

“Teachers are going to have four hours a day of online remote office hours. So [from] 8:30 to 10:30 and 12:30 to 2:30, they’re supposed to be available if a kid needs to contact us and get information about schoolwork,” said Anderson.

Anderson says he expects a lot of “trial and error,” as this is the first time they’ve ever done this before.

Adding insult to injury, the district has not informed when classes will return. They are to be on standby for the moment. It won’t be until at least April 13 before they get an update on the remainder of the school year.

Schools will not soon return to classes, and more than likely the school year will just disperse.

The CIF has also postponed their original April 3 meeting, stating that they would reschedule the meeting no earlier than May 8, meaning that they intend to speak at any point after the specified date. That meeting will be held via teleconference.

As nearby cities in California begin to quarantine, health officials remind residents to stay home when possible and cover mouths when sneezing or coughing.

The excerpt below is from CDC.gov, with recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

Clean your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact

Stay home if you’re sick

  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Wear a facemask if you are sick

  • If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room.
  • If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

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