The Sierra Vista Unified School District and Buena High School administration, in consultation with Cochise County Health and Social Services, made the decision Sunday to close the high school for in-person instruction until Nov. 30 because of a COVID-19 outbreak at the school.
Athletics and other scheduled activities are also canceled until that time.
The news is especially hard for the Buena volleyball team, which qualified for the state playoffs for the first time since 2006 with a 10-1 record. The Colts were scheduled to host a playoff match Saturday.
The football team, which was forced to cancel last Friday’s game at Ironwood Ridge, will not host Cienega this Friday for Senior Night. The Colts (2-2) have no other games scheduled as of now. They will not reach the minimum number of five games to qualify for the 5A state playoffs, which begin Nov. 27.
“There’s no game on (Nov.) 13th as of now, there goes Senior Night and there goes an opportunity to get a game on the 20th,” Buena football coach Joe Thomas said. “There goes an opportunity to make it to the playoffs. I am hoping that on the 30th we’re able to pick up some games against some Tucson teams for a couple of weeks in December.”
Southern Arizona public schools are scheduled to play football through Dec. 18.
All other schools in the Sierra Vista School District will continue to have in-person instruction.
On Saturday, Cochise Health and Social Services (CHSS) confirmed an outbreak of COVID-19 at Buena High School consistent with the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) outbreak definition. On Sunday, SVUSD received an outbreak letter from CHSS.
“Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of Buena High School students and staff, SVUSD and BHS administration immediately made the decision to close to in-person instruction until Monday, November 30, 2020,” the district mentioned in a statement. “All sports or scheduled activities scheduled to occur during closure are cancelled. Buena Administration will be providing information to students, parents and staff regarding virtual learning that will take place during closure.”
For the second straight week, Cienega must find an opponent after COVID-19 caused a cancellation.
The Bobcats were originally supposed to host Nogales last Friday but the Apaches were in the second week of a two-week quarantine after a player tested positive for COVID-19. Cienega was without an opponent until Friday night when Ironwood Ridge became available after Buena was forced to cancel 30 minutes before kickoff because of positive tests at the high school.
Cienega and Ironwood Ridge officials matched the two schools for a Saturday afternoon game at Ironwood Ridge. The Bobcats beat the Nighthawks 36-22.
Cienega coach Pat Nugent mentioned after the game that he does not want to go through the same ordeal, saying he was a “stress case.”
Nugent will once again be forced to scramble for an opponent Friday.
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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.