Public school superintendents in Southern Arizona have canceled football practices and games at local high schools in response to a memorandum submitted yesterday by Pima County administrator C.H. Huckelberry to county school superintendent Dustin Williams to immediately cease all fall athletic events at public schools because of COVID-19 concerns.
Amphitheater School District superintendent Todd Jaeger mentioned in a letter to the schools that “superintendents throughout the county agreed to cease all athletic practices and competitions immediately. Only Phase 1 individual activities will continue.”
Catalina Foothills football coach Darius Kelly and Flowing Wells athletic director Mark Brunenkant confirmed the cancelations in their school districts earlier in the day. The dominos then started to fall.
“SUSD is immediately ceasing all fall athletic events including football practice and games,” according to a Sunnyside spokesperson.
Mountain View coach Matt Johnson confirmed Marana School District is also canceling football operations. That means Buena’s season is over as well because the Colts were scheduled to host the Mountain Lions for their Senior Night.
“This was a difficult decision,” Jaeger mentioned in his letter to Amphi schools. “We know that athletics are important, and we know that our students are happiest when they are involved in the activities they love. I regret that we must end the season for our students in an abrupt and premature closing – especially after a delayed opening. We will continue to do our best for all students by making measured decisions with the guidance of health experts, just as we have endeavored to do since the pandemic found its way to our community. Thank you for your continued understanding,”
Catalina Foothills’ administration sent the following letter to its coaches in which it states that the season has been canceled “until further notice”:
“This is a notification that ALL winter sports practices and activities have been canceled until further notice effective today 11/24/20. With the increasing number of COVID cases in our community and Pima County Health Department recommendation, we have decided that it’s in the best interests for our student athletes and coaches to cease all athletic activity at this time. Thank you for your understanding.”
Huckelberry stated in his memo to Williams, “As you know, we are at record setting COVID-19 infection levels and require the assistance of all to reduce the amount of infections that occur within the community and additional stress on the healthcare delivery system in Pima County. Please compile a list of public school superintendents willing to comply with these requests at your earliest convenience.”
Huckelberry also requested public charter and private schools be included in the process of immediately ending fall athletic events, including football practice and games.
Coaches and officials of Pusch Ridge and Salpointe, both private schools, said they are continuing with their playoff games as scheduled.
Pusch Ridge’s Class 3A state quarterfinal game with Wickenburg is scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m.
Salpointe plays an Open Division quarterfinal game at Scottsdale Saguaro on Friday at 7 p.m.
AllSportsTucson.com will update when concrete information is learned.
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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.