Spring sports in Idaho continue as neighboring states suspend school

by Dylan Greene
Sports Editor | March 14, 2020 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — Sandpoint athletics was affected by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement Friday afternoon that all schools in Washington would be closed from March 17 until at least April 24 in response to the spread of the coronavirus.

Due to the schools in Washington being shut down, all high school sports, including practices, are suspended in the state during that time period and several Sandpoint teams have games scheduled with schools in Washington this spring.

Softball and baseball were set to play at Clarkston on Saturday before the games were postponed due to weather and unsafe traveling conditions.

Baseball was supposed to host East Valley on April 14, but that game has now been postponed along with a softball series scheduled to be played at West Valley on March 23.

Other Sandpoint sporting events with Washington schools have been affected by this decision and Athletic Director Kris Knowles said it will be difficult to reschedule those events if schools in Washington are shut down for that time frame.

The last few days have seen the NCAA cancel its winter and spring sports and the NBA, NHL, MLS and other professional sports leagues suspend their seasons in response to COVID-19. Knowles said we are now seeing this trickle down to the high school level and he thinks something similar could happen to high school sports across the country.

Knowles has been in contact with other AD’s across Idaho to understand how they are dealing with this health issue.

“The last two days, pretty much all I’ve done is been in contact with other schools, our administration, health officials and I think everyone has a fairly good sense of what this is looking like but every district is unique, every place is unique,” he said.

As of now, spring high school sports in Idaho will go on as planned and the Idaho High School Activities Association released a statement Friday stating, “regular season contests are conducted at the discretion of our member schools.”

The IDHSAA also stated they still plan on holding all the spring state tournaments until further notice.

Knowles said the school currently doesn’t have any concrete plans in place for canceling the Sandpoint spring sports season if other schools in the area start shutting down, but they have had some preliminary discussions about how they would react.

“If there is a positive test that comes in our region, our district will respond accordingly,” he said.

The school is following the Panhandle Health Department’s recommendation to limit gatherings of 250 people and monitoring any travel they have planned, Knowles said.

Knowles added that he had discussions with all of the coaches at the high school about reminding their athletes to follow safe practices when it comes to cleanliness and washing their hands.

He said the school is taking all necessary precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the kids and coaches, but it’s a fluid situation.

“At the end of the day, this seems to be almost an hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute evolving situation,” he said.

The next Sandpoint sports event is scheduled for Monday when the golf team takes part in the Lewiston Invitational.