Sunnyside Unified School District superintendent Steve Holmes said tonight during the school board meeting that because Pima County shows “moderate” instead of “minimal” spread of COVID-19, the football teams at Sunnyside and Desert View high schools face the likelihood of having their seasons canceled in the fall.
“There is no contact to be made and there will be no competition for football unless counties move into the minimal amount of spread,” Holmes said.”Right now, we are in the ‘moderate.’ So what’s been communicated to coaches at this point is that we’re trying not to disappoint our athletes around football at this stage but there is a strong likeliness there will not be a football season here this fall unless it gets moved or postponed until later in the year.”
Holmes added that it is “highly unlikely that we will move out of the moderate phase for quite some time. It may actually take us until there is an actual vaccine in place for us to move out of the moderate phase.”
The “minimal” benchmark according to the Arizona Department of Health Services is less than 10 cases out of 100,000 people. Pima County presently is between 10 to 100 cases out of 100,000 people.
The football teams can continue to practice, but with no physical contact between athletes, Holmes said.
“We want our student-athletes to continue go out and work out in Phase II,” he said. “It’s motivating for our families and motivating for our coaches, and I think it keeps a lot of our students in school.”
The boys and girls cross country and golf teams can practice and compete in the moderate phase of the COVID-19 spread.
Volleyball can begin practice with social distancing and health safety precautions but competition has yet to be determined by the local superintendents, according to Holmes.
If competition does begin in cross country and golf, transportation will not be provided by the school district.
“As a matter of fact, with moderate spread right now until we start school, it’s best that family members get their students to and from the competitions,” Holmes said. “Right now, under the current phase in practices, athletes are being provided transportation by families, so that will continue in the way we are doing it currently.”
The Sunnyside governing board tonight voted 3-1 for in-person instruction to begin with a hybrid model Oct. 19 provided that the Pima County Health Department’s metrics indicate progress is being made with its COVID-19 disease data. Presently, a decline has occurred with cases over two consecutive weeks and in percent positivity, putting those categories into the “progress” phase. Criteria is being met with COVID-19-like illnesses.
The Pima County public school superintendents made a statement last week that competition for their schools will not start until in-person instruction takes place.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.