PUSD cancels through weekend, PC indefinitely
Porterville Unified School District was the first area school to announce the suspension of athletic events due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) early Thursday morning.
On the heels of Tulare County issuing an emergency declaration after an individual tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday evening, PUSD posted on Facebook, “All PUSD athletic events are cancelled for today, tomorrow, and Saturday (March 12, 13 and 14). Practices will continue as scheduled.”
Throughout the day, Central Section high schools and school districts announced the suspension of athletic events with all beginning immediately. Summit Charter Collegiate Academy did not announce any cancellations as of press time but Lindsay Unified School District released a statement that said, “No travel outside of Tulare County for athletics, field trips, and other competitive events, unless pre-approved” through April 3.
On PUSD’s next step, PUSD athletic director, Richard Rankin said, “Everything seems to be changing very quickly. We have a lot of athletic events next week during our spring break and so we’ll make a determination on that as more information heads our way.”
PUSD is on spring break from March 16-20, but the decision on canceling games is likely already made for them. As of midday Thursday, the CIF Central Section announced dozens of schools across the section had already begun canceling events.
“We only cancel the events that we host,” Central Section Commissioner Jim Crichlow said. “Everything else is left up to the individual schools and school sites.”
The shortest cancelations were by PUSD, Immanuel, Orange Cove and Parlier, who have cancelled athletic events through the weekend. Santa Maria and Woodlake cancelled events through all of March.
Fresno Unified, Madera, Central, Clovis, Kern High School District, Yosemite, Wasco, Farmersville, Liberty Madera Ranchos, Desert and Boron cancelled events through April 13 while Visalia Unified cancelled all non-league events through April 30. Garces, Delano, Hanford, Hanford West and Lemoore cancelled all events until further notice.
Paso Robles, Santa Maria, Nipomo, Righetti, Pioneer Valley, Templeton and Atascadero cancelled all events through April 13 with crowds over 250.
Many of the suspension of athletic events came after California governor, Gavin Newsom, issued an executive order Wednesday evening in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order states, “Gatherings should be postponed or canceled across the state until at least the end of March. Non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person. Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people, while also following social distancing guidelines.”
JC athletics postponed indefinitely, basketball state championships cancelled
Late Thursday the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) also announced all spring sports are cancelled indefinitely, which suspends all Porterville College athletics.
The postponement of all spring sports comes after the CCCAA announced the cancellation of the men and women’s basketball state championships. Scheduled to play in the tournament were Fresno City and the College of the Sequoia's men's basketball teams.
Also on Thursday morning, the CIF announced the cancellation of all remaining CIF State Basketball Championships including the state finals scheduled for March 13-14 at Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center. Affected by the cancellations were Central Section teams, Sierra Pacific girls basketball and Bakersfield Christian boys basketball.
Wrestling Nationals postponed
Thursday evening, the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) announced the postponement of the 31st annual High School National Championship wrestling tournament, which Porterville and Monache wrestlers were expected to attend.
In their official statement, NHSCA added they would be releasing new dates for the event today.
Youth sports also making cancelations
Youth sports in the area are also making decisions on what to do with their seasons.
The City of Porterville said Thursday “all nonessential services provided by Porterville Parks & Leisure will be suspended until further notice,” including “recreation activities, special events, and sports leagues that were scheduled to occur during the month of March.”
Porterville Girls Fastpitch announced on its Facebook page that all games are to be postponed until April.
“We as an organization strive on the safety of our players as our main priority,” PGF's statement read. “With that said we have decided to fall in suit with city and county officials and postpone games until April. We will comeback at the end of March with city and county officials to decide if we need to postpone longer. We have let coaches know that they can proceed with practices at their discretion and is no way mandatory. We are very sorry for any inconvenience but we feel this will pass and we can get back to playing ball soon."
Porterville Little League also said they are discussing their next step.