The COVID-19 pandemic has spread to the state’s high school sports spring season.
California’s high school sports governing body officially canceled the spring sports season Friday afternoon amid ongoing coronavirus concerns.
Aimed at slowing the spread of the virus, the move comes on the heels of a statewide shelter-in-place order, which took effect on March 19 and won’t end until May 3 at the earliest.
School instruction will continue utilizing distance-learning methods.
“Based on the recent statements issued by Gov. Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond regarding schools turning to distance learning for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) does not see an avenue for the spring sports season to continue,” said CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti.
Locally, the cancellation impacts baseball, softball, boys’ tennis, boys’ golf, track and field, swimming, diving, boys’ volleyball and stunt cheer squads, which all played out only a sliver of their seasons.
The Heritage baseball team, for example, played only four games compared to 28 last season.
Play ground to a halt once coronavirus concerns took hold in March.
East County teams began playing without spectators early that month, and then, play and in-person contact among teams was suspended indefinitely days later.
“We understand this is disappointing for everyone involved in education-based athletics, and we empathize with our student-athletes and all who are impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak,” Nocetti said. “As always, our top priority is everyone’s ongoing health and safety during this challenging time, and we all look forward to the day when education-based athletics resumes.”
Bay Valley Athletic League spring sports coaches said as early as last week they had continued to urge their squads to prepare for the season to continue but knew nothing was guaranteed.
“I’ve been called, texted and emailed by coaches and people close to me that know how much time we all put in,” said Heritage baseball coach Kevin Brannan. “Most ask how I feel about the possibility of losing the season, and that this might be the most talented team the program has had. Each time my answer is the same, this is all out of our hands, and we have more important roles to play than winning a game or two.”