Spring break came early for students and athletes at Riverbank High School and throughout the unified school district last week, as campuses citywide closed in response to the COVID-19 nationwide outbreak on Thursday, March 19. Ironically, it was the first official day of spring.
Sports activities in the Trans-Valley League had been canceled effective the Friday before, and the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) had terminated the end of basketball tournaments about the same time. Over that weekend, the Stanislaus County Office of Education made its decision to send students home on the 19th, giving parents and schools a little time to work out the details of those changes before they became effective.
On March 17, the state office of the CIF and its 10 Section Commissioners had held its annual scheduled spring meeting, with the agenda including a discussion about the impact of COVID-19 on the 2020 CIF spring sports season.
CIF Executive Director Executive Director Ron Nocetti reported on their decisions.
“In anticipation of further guidance and directives issued by federal, state and local government agencies regarding COVID-19, the CIF has not determined the future of spring sports events at this time and intends to reconvene with the 10 Section Commissioners on April 3 to revisit this issue. Until that time, Sections will continue to confer with their local leadership and the State CIF will continue to monitor any directives and recommendations issued from the above entities.”
CIF officials added that they “will continue to work with our schools and school districts with the health and well-being of student-athletes and school communities as our priority.”
Community College Sports
At the junior college level, athletes are facing similar difficulties but the governing authority in that area has also made some decisions.
On Thursday, March 19, the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) board of directors voted that “the remainder of the 2020 spring sports season will be canceled.”
According to authorities, the CCCAA, which oversees and governs athletics for 109 member institutions, postponed the spring seasons the week before due to concerns over COVID-19 with hopes of possibly returning to competition. However, with campuses throughout the state closed and most classes taking place online, and with the uncertainty about when conditions will improve, the Board of Directors voted to cancel the spring sports seasons.
The Board of Directors subsequently voted that nearly 9,500 student-athletes who competed this spring will have their season of competition restored, provided they had not quit or been cut from their teams prior to the seasons being postponed by the CCCAA on March 12. The restoration only applies to the student-athletes’ status within the CCCAA. The NCAA, NAIA and other collegiate governing bodies are currently addressing similar issues and the CCCAA will continue to work with them to help student-athletes who wish to eventually transfer.
Initially, the school was told sports were to be canceled through March 31, but when students went home after school on March 18 they were told classes would not resume at least until April 19, when they normally would be returning from spring break.
In the interim, there are no sports on the schedule. However, here are some photos from recent activity on RHS playing fields, prior to the closing of school and the shutdown of the spring sports season.