May 22, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Chances of spring sports returning most likely ends with decision to keep schools closed

All schools in California will remain closed through the remainder of the school year because of the coronavirus crisis most likely ending the possibility of sports returning in Irvine and other districts in Orange County.

Many districts had already extended closures into May or June.

The news from Gov. Gavin Newsom was distributed to residents in an email by Terry L. Walker, Superintendent of Schools for the district.

CIF State Officials are scheduled to meet Friday, but with the decision by Gov. Gavin Newson to keep schools closed, the option of rescheduled playoffs seem unlikely, dealing a heartbreaking blow to seniors who were holding out some hope the season could be salvaged. A CIF spokesman said earlier this week the meeting was planned for Friday morning.

Here’s the statement from IUSD:

“Today, Governor Newsom and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Thurmond announced that all California schools will remain closed to students through the end of the 2019-20 school year, as a result of increased COVID-19 cases throughout the state.  The extension of school closures reaffirms the Governor’s previous statements and his intention to continue stay at home’ orders to protect the public health.  

“While schools will remain closed to students, I would like to emphasize that distance learning and IUSD services will continue, including school counseling services, mental health and wellness supports, grab-and-go meals, Chromebooks and connectivity, and more.  Please continue to visit iusd.org and iusd.org/COVID19 for ongoing updates, information and resources for students and families.

“After what we’ve been seeing going on in New York, I’m hoping that California jumped out ahead of everybody else,” said IUSD Athletic Director Mark Cunningham Wednesday afternoon. “Governor Newsom did and I think It’s smart for our community and especially for our kids and teachers.”

Cunningham said that all of the spring sports in Irvine Unified are now over.

“I don’t know what CIF is going to do, but we obviously wouldn’t be a part of it,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham, a former coach at University, said he is well aware of the disappointment for seniors.

“I can only say to them, I’ve been through a lot in my life, a potential nuclear war with President Kennedy, the Vietnam War to deal with as a young adult, a gas shortage, 911, this is obviously the strangest and weirdest thing that has ever occurred in my life. I have no answer that I can give to seniors other than I’m so sorry this happened. I feel so badly for them that they’re not going to have these seasons.

“I want them to have healthy lives going forward and I think it’s the best decision we can make so they can continue their life moving forward.

Cunningham said he is hopeful summer camps will be held as scheduled in June and that preparations for football season can begin then.

“We are going to proceed as if we’re going to have summer camps,” he said. “And if summer camps don’t happen, we’re going to go into the fall season and fall sports are going to occur. We just can’t tell, we don’t have enough information about this virus, we just don’t.”

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com