COVID concerns put athletics on hold

Nicki Derrick and the North Douglas softball team, last year’s 1A champs, will have to wait to defend their title as spring sports around the state have been postponed. PHOTO BY ZACH SILVA

(Update: The OSAA in accordance with an announcement made by Governor Kate Brown on Wed., Mar. 18 will extend the suspension of spring sports to at least April 28. To keep track of this constantly evolving situation, visit www.osaa.org to see their latest updates on the state of Oregon high school sports and activities.)

With the rising specter of COVID-19 threatening the health and safety of people attending large gatherings, nearly every sport and sporting event in the United States has been put on hold. As of last Friday, local spring sports have been added to the list.

Following the lead of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and myriad others, South Lane School District (SLSD) and the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) made the decision late last week to indefinitely suspend any ongoing sports activities as well as the beginning of the baseball, softball, golf and track and field seasons.

“All athletics are currently suspended,” stated a Mar. 13 press release from SLSD. “At this time, there is to be no practices, individual workouts and, per the governor’s directive, no competitions until April 8.”

This announcement was made after Governor Kate Brown declared late on the night of Thurs., Mar. 12 that all K-12 public schools in the state of Oregon would be closed until April 1. For sporting events and upcoming scheduled practices, SLSD added an extra week on to the school closure period and will reevaluate the situation regarding spring sports at a later date.

In similar moves, Yoncalla, North Douglas and Elkton high schools will also be closed for daily classes until April 1 and their own spring sports will be delayed until at least that date as well.

In a further effort to limit public gatherings and use of public space, SLSD also announced temporary closure of the Warren H. Daugherty Aquatic Center as well as the decision by South Valley Athletics to delay the beginning of both their soccer and baseball seasons.

While these updates have been clearly described as suspensions or delays — as opposed to cancellations like the OSAA state basketball championships — the situation will remain fluid for the foreseeable future. School districts around the state, SLSD included, as well as the OSAA will continue to evaluate the state of spring sports as the wider issue of COVID-19 unfolds.

A Mar. 13 press release from the OSAA reads, “During this suspension we will evaluate this evolving public health situation with the Oregon Health Authority, the Oregon Department of Education, the OSAA Executive Board, the OSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and member school administrators from throughout the state to determine when, or if, to resume the spring season.”

For more information and ongoing updates, visit www.slane.k12.or.us for information on the South Lane School District, www.northdouglas.k12.or.us for North Douglas, www.yoncalla.k12.or.us for Yoncalla, www.elkton.k12.or.us for Elkton and www.osaa.org for general information and updates regarding Oregon high school sports.

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