No plans to pause Bay Area high school winter sports during COVID surge, commissioners say

Commissioners representing the two major sections in the Bay Area say there have been no talks about an overarching pause or shutdown of winter high school sports in response to the latest wave of the coronavirus.

The Los Angeles Unified School District has decided to halt competition for this week, at least, to monitor the omicron variant wave. But section and league commissioners in the Bay Area say that while they are monitoring the situation, it’s up to individual schools and leagues on how to move forward the rest of the regular season as league play begins.

“I haven’t heard from anyone in our section considering shutting anything down,” NCS commissioner Pat Cruickshank said. “Hopefully we won’t have to, but we’re open to whatever is best for the students.”

Any movement toward a possible shutdown would come from the schools and league commissioners, who haven’t proposed a pause.

“We have not had those discussions,” CCS commissioner Dave Grissom said. “Schools and leagues are making that decision on a site-by-site basis.”

At the league level, some commissioners are in talks to create a contingency plan should teams not be able to complete a full season before playoffs begin. For the West Catholic Athletic League, those plans do not include a league-wide pause.

“Not currently part of our plans,” said WCAL commissioner Jolene Fugate. “But as we’ve learned since COVID began, things change frequently and we have to adjust.”

Game postponements due to the coronavirus are commonplace around Bay Area high school sports. Miramonte boys basketball coach Chris Lavdiotis is scrambling to replace four teams — Oakland Tech, St. Joe’s Notre Dame, Mt. Eden and Montgomery High School — who dropped out of the Miramonte MLK-John Lewis Memorial showcase on Saturday for COVID-related reasons.

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Lavdiotis said a pause or shutdown would have worked before league games started in January in order to prevent a log-jam. Now the priority is to ensure kids get to compete and squeeze as many league games into the season before playoffs.

“We’ve been in scramble mode for two years so we’re flexible,” Lavdiotis said. “We’re going to keep a very flexible outlook and we’ll make the best with what we’ve got. If we pause now, we already lost a week of league. If we shut it down this week, it’s two weeks.”

The CIF ruling to change bylaw and allow games on Sundays allows flexibility for not only schools, but also officials, to create more room for postponed games.

The NCS suspended the bylaw requiring a .500 record to qualify for the playoffs, which allows any school to apply for the postseason. The CCS hasn’t made concessions, so far, in basketball in terms of postseason eligibility. With soccer playoffs approaching, Grissom is concerned that teams may not reach the 18-game minimum to be considered.

The Menlo School closed their campus last week out of an abundance of caution and, as a result, canceled all practices and games, including three boys basketball games, two girls basketball games, two boys soccer games and one girls soccer game. The school hopes to …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports

      

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