The coronavirus has claimed more victims.
Athletic events were among those suspended by Walla Walla Public Schools, it was announced in the following press release today:
Walla Walla Public Schools will be suspending all school-sponsored out-of-district student events effective immediately.
This decision also suspends all student events hosted at Walla Walla schools where outside participants would be traveling into the community.
This includes activities such as home and away athletic contests, student field trips outside of our community, music contests/jamborees, and other program-related competitions/events.
“This decision came after careful consideration, including consultation with local health officials this morning,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “This decision did not come lightly, but is necessary to ensure the health and safety of our students, staff, and community as we respond to this pandemic health crisis.”
Information regarding rescheduling of activities and events will be made available when conditions improve and/or are recommended by health experts.
“This is an extremely fluid situation,” said Smith. “My pledge to you is that we will communicate regularly and often.”
Walla Walla Public Schools will continue to follow its epidemic/pandemic response plan as detailed on the district’s Coronavirus Website (https://www.wwps.org/resources/parents/coronavirus-information).
As of this morning, Walla Walla Public Schools remains in Stage 2 of its plan. The district is preparing to implement Stage 3 measures if the crisis warrants this action.
“Thank you for your flexibility and understanding as we collectively respond to keep our Walla Walla students and community safe,” said Smith.
Meanwhile, no spectators will be permitted to attend the remaining playoffs of the Oregon high school basketball tournaments, the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) announced in a press release Wednesday.
The announcement coincided with an order for the entire state by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday that gatherings of more than 250 people be postponed for at least four weeks to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Basketball is currently in the midst of its postseason, with the smaller schools of Class 3A, 2A and 1A having already completed their respective tournaments and crown champions while the larger Class 6A, 5A and 4A brackets are scheduled to finish this weekend.
The OSAA issued the following media release:
Over the past week, the OSAA has followed guidance from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and local health departments in administering our state championship events.
The OSAA is committed to following the direction of Oregon’s public health authorities, including guidance from the Governor, OHA and ODE in order to help slow the transmission of the coronavirus.
With today’s rapidly changing situation, and in consultation with these groups, the OSAA has made the difficult decision to change its spectator policies for state championship events.
Beginning Thursday morning, March 12, per guidance from the OHA and the Governor, only participating students and coaches, essential event staff personnel and media with OSAA-issued credentials will be allowed to attend OSAA State Championship events.
“This difficult decision has not been made lightly,” said Peter Weber, OSAA Exectuive Director. “Going into this week, we knew the situation was rapidly evolving and as the circumstances and guidance have change throughout today, our focus is on trying to honor the commitment students have made throughout the season by continuing the contest, albeit without spectators.”
OSAA staff is communicating directly with the participating school with instructions and further details.
Fans will be able to watch all games from each state championship site this week via the NFHS Network (https;//www.nfhs.network.com/association/osaa).
Additionally, all game will have free streaming audio via the OSAA Radio Network at http://www.osaa.org/radio-network.
Live game state will also be available through the OSAA website.
Daily stories from each championship site will be available on OSAAtoday at www.osaa.org/today.
We will be work with each of our venues and partners to communicate directly to fans about refunds for tickets already purchased.
The OSAA will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide updates as necessary.