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Local sports officials seek direction

With each passing day, news surrounding the worldwide coronavirus pandemic seems to only get worse.

For the PIAA and District 11, the spring sports season appears to be in jeopardy more and more each day. With news of a 10-day shutdown of the school system across the state coming last Friday, everyone in the sports world is playing the waiting game.

“There really isn’t much going on because we’re just waiting for direction from the Governor and the PIAA,” said Whitehall athletic director and District 11 chairman Bob Hartman. “The biggest thing we can do now is to stay safe and try and flatten the curve. Hopefully we get into a situation where we can play games this spring, but who knows?”

The unknown factor regarding the spread of the coronavirus and the decisions by government leaders to limit social interactions are certainly monitored everyday by the general public, but for local athletic directors it’s no different.

Liberty athletic director Fred Harris is playing the waiting game with the rest of us, hoping that the clouds of this storm can eventually part in some semblance of a spring season.

“I live with a senior softball player and I hear it all the time about having a spring season,” said Harris. “If we come back, it should only take us a week to play contests, if we come back. We just have no idea what’s going to happen. All of our directives come from people above us.”

The first day of the spring sports season for most sports would be this Friday, March 20. Tennis has already had competitive matches underway, while most sports were in the groove of getting through practices during a mild March.

With no games allowed through March 27, administrators at least have that date in mind when it comes to planning how to proceed moving forward.

But just like every fluid situation, the calendar of the spring season appears to be at the mercy of health officials’ recommendations to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Harris acknowledged that there have been some preliminary discussions on having a shortened season, but the situation changes everyday.

“We really don’t know what the plan is right now,” said Harris. “We’re looking at anything from a shortened season to no season. We all want to have some type of season this year, but the number one priority is health.”

At the end of the day, while many athletes, especially seniors, coaches and parents are frustrated and disheartened by the ongoing ramifications the coronavirus is causing, the most important thing for all is public safety.

“We’re in the business of athletics,” said Hartman. “This is a major health crisis and the biggest thing is keeping people safe.”