The writing might’ve been on the wall, but the Alaska School Activities Association made it official on Tuesday.
All state championships for the remainder of the 2020-21 fall sports season are canceled, due to the novel coronavirus.
The decision includes state competitions for football, swim and dive, gymnastics, rifle, music, Esports, DDF and volleyball.
Cross country was the only fall sport able to hold a state meet, running its championship race on Saturday in Anchorage.
ASAA also announced the postponement of all other future activities until it adopts a revised calendar, according to a press release.
On Sept. 24, ASAA released its 14th version of the 2020-21 sports calendar, with wrestling beginning in November and the state wrestling tournament at the end of January 2021 in Anchorage.
Basketball was supposed to begin on Jan. 4, 2021, with state tournaments taking place at the end of March 2021 in Anchorage.
Both of those schedules are now on hold.
For activities currently in season, regional championships still are allowed, according to the press release, if the sports are able to do so before Nov. 22.
Ketchikan High School was supposed to host Southeast regional tournaments this year. But those remain in question, depending on coronavirus cases throughout the region.
Kayhi’s swim and dive team has been able to compete virtually, similar to the cross country team’s meets this season. More than likely, the regional swim and dive meet will be done virtually, as well.
The Lady Kings’ volleyball program has been able to compete against Craig High School, as well as Sitka and Mt. Edgecumbe high schools, during the past couple weeks.
But both high schools in Juneau — Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain — have not been able to travel to the First City or Sitka due to the capital city’s rising numbers of coronavirus cases.
Juneau’s risk level is considered intermediate — just one notch shy of high risk — according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Ketchikan is considered moderate risk, according to the Ketchikan Emergency Operations Center.
To date, Juneau has had 330 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began in March, including five new infections on Tuesday. Currently, 88 are active in the capital city, according to DHSS.
Anchorage has continued to be hotbed of novel coronavirus cases, maintaining a “high risk” level.
ASAA’s decision to cancel fall sports championships, and postpone other seasons until further notice, comes after consulting with the DHSS and Anchorage Health Department, according to the press release.
ASAA also considered the “current status of COVID-19 case counts, and the projections of the case counts increasing in Anchorage and other parts of the state,” as well as “the impact of travel during the holiday season both into and out of Alaska.”
That said, ASAA still continued with the cross country state meet in Anchorage on Saturday. Juneau-Douglas, Thunder Mountain and Sitka high schools had runners travel to Anchorage and participate.
Sitka sent six runners; Juneau-Douglas had 11 runners participate in the state meet, and Thunder Mountain had two.
Kayhi did not send any competitors to the state meet because Anchorage is considered high risk.
ASAA also has allowed Anchorage-area high schools to play football games, despite the Anchorage School District currently remote learning only.
Eagle River High School’s football team was forced to forfeit its final game of the regular season, on Saturday, as well as the state semifinal on Oct. 17, in addition to undergoing an immediate 14-day quarantine after members attended a private social event on Oct. 3.
According to a letter sent to ERHS families, “mulitple players or participants” at the party tested positive for the novel coronavirus, or were “identified as close contacts.”
According to the Anchorage Daily News, several sports at mulitple schools have had to be in quarantine thus far this school year — not even two months in.
The Dimond High School varsity football team had to undergo quarantine, as well as “numerous C-team volleyball squads and tennis players from four schools,” according to the newspaper.
Anchorage health officials also are investigating a number of coronavirus infections connected to a youth hockey tournament from Oct. 2-4, which more than 300 people attended.
The ASAA Board of Directors’ next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 9.