May 27, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

WRAP-UP: OC school districts, college and pro teams respond to coronavirus

Ryan Lemmon Stadium in Irvine, where baseball games will likely go on without fans for a while. (Photo Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone)

Irvine Unified School District officials have announced that Irvine Unified Schools grades kindgergarten through grade 12 will remain open and high school athletic events will continue, but without fans.

“I would like to reiterate that local and state public health officials have informed IUSD and other OC K-12 school districts that it is appropriate for schools to remain open and maintain as normal a schedule as possible. However, by taking these important social distancing steps now, we are supporting the public health of our community,” according to a release from Terry Walker, superintendent of schools for IUSD.

According to the release, “routine athletic events can continue without spectators in attendance. Larger events such as tournaments or invitational meets (more than 250 people) will be canceled or postponed.”

Walker added:

“I would like to reiterate that local and state public health officials have informed IUSD and other OC K-12 school districts that it is appropriate for schools to remain open and maintain as normal a schedule as possible. However, by taking these important social distancing steps now, we are supporting the public health of our community.”

ALSO ANNOUNCED:

—-Schools in the Orange Unified School District will remain open but all athletic events will be postponed until further notice, according to Athletic Director Alicia Seevers.

Originally, the district decided to continue sports without spectators, then revised its policy Friday.

Other high schools in the district are Canyon, El Modena and Villa Park.

—Saddleback Valley Unified School District has announced that all spring sporting events will either be postponed or canceled. The district’s high schools include El Toro, Laguna Hills,. Mission Viejo and Trabuco Hills.

—The CIF State Basketball Championships scheduled for this weekend in Sacramento have been canceled. Rosary’s girls basketball team was scheduled to play in the championship game Friday night.

—Athletic events in the Santa Ana Unified School District will continue with limited attendance. “Athletic events have not been cancelled. However, the number of spectators should be limited to fewer than 250 people,” according to a letter from the district.

The high schools include Santa Ana, Century, Godinez, Segerstrom, Saddleback and Santa Ana Valley.

—Athletic events in the Capistrano Unified School District are being postponed or cancelled. Teams may continue practice but no spectators will be allowed, according to district officials. High schools include Aliso Niguel, Capistrano Valley, Dana Hills, San Clemente, San Juan Hills and Tesoro.

–Huntington Beach Unified School District has postponed all athletic events indefinitely, but teams are allowed to practice. The high schools include Edison, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Marina, Ocean View and Westminster.

–Newport Mesa Unified, which includes Corona del Mar, Newport Harbor, Costa Mesa and Estancia, has indefinitely postponed athletic events. Please click here for the story.

—Tustin Unified School District, which includes Tustin, Foothill and Beckman, has postponed all athletic events and practices until further notice, according to a district spokesman..

—Santa Ana Prep Showcase, scheduled for Saturday at Santa Ana Valley High, has been postponed until April 25, according to organizer Leon Raya. A girls game and boys game was scheduled.

—The Big West Conference announced that it was canceling the Big West men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. The men’s tournament was scheduled to begin Thursday at the Honda Center. Please click here for details and Coach Russell Turner’s reaction.

–The Big West Conference announced Thursday that it is indefinitely suspending all spring conference and non-conference competition, effective immediately.

“The main priority of the Big West Conference continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information on COVID-19,” the statement read.

–The USL, which includes the OC Soccer Club, is suspending its season for at least 30 days. The OC Soccer Club had three matches planned this month. Please click here for the story.

–The California Community College Athletic Association Board of Directors voted Thursday to immediately postpone games and practices. That will include programs at Irvine Valley College, Saddleback College, Santa Ana College, Orange Coast College, Golden West College and Fullerton College.

—The Irvine Invitational Track meet scheduled for this weekend has been postponed, according to IUD Athletic Director Mark Cunningham.

—Chapman University officials announced Wednesday the remainder of the spring athletic season was being canceled. Please click here for details.

—The CIF Southern Section appears to be leaving decisions up to individual school districts, according to a question and answer memo distributed to the media from Thom Simmons, assistant commissioner:

Does Southern Section have a plan in place in case of outbreak within section schools? The CIF and the CIF-SS is too large both by number of schools, but also by geography to have a one size fits all response to this virus. We believe letting these decisions be made by local schools and school districts, in concert with their local health officials and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, is the best plan of action as they know far better than we of the best course in keeping their students and families safe. We will support them in those decisions.

Is there any plan to cancel or reschedule upcoming events?

As of this moment there is no plan by our office to make such decisions but, again, to leave those to individual school site administrators and their leadership. If this situation continues into spring championships, those events this office directly controls, we will address those concerns at that time.

Are you in contact with state office and/or neighboring sections and what is their plan?

We have been and continue to be. Again, plans are those for each section, school and community to determine. What may be the best course in one community may not work in another. The CIF State has put out this advisory: https://cifstate.org/sports-medicine/coronavirus

Districts are making their own policy and Southern Section will follow the member schools lead?

As they should, individual districts and schools are formulating plans with guidance from local health officials and the CDC that are in the best interests of their students, families and communities and the CIF and CIF-SS are supporting them in those determinations.

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

This story has been updated to include a revised policy with Orange Unified School District; please send updates and cancellations of events to timburt@ocsportszone.com