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Games and practices are suspended as a result of school closures pertaining to COVID-19 outbreak.

PMG FILE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Forest Grove's Spencer Jones (22) during an OSAA baseball game against Newberg in Forest Grove last season.The high school spring sports season is on hold, at least for now.

In a release sent out Friday, March 13, by the Oregon School Activities Association, the OSAA has suspended interscholastic practices and contests for sports and activities for all member schools effective today through March 31.

"Right now were obviously following everything set forth by the school district first," Forest Grove athletic director Doug Thompson said. "We're off school until April 1, staff returns March 30, and over that time we'll be having no practices, nor any open gyms with any of our spring athletes."

Sherwood athletic director Randy Ramp added.

"Everything is cancelled," Ramp said. "I'm sure that sometime before the 31st that the OSAA will send out an update."

That looks to be the case, as the OSAA, in this morning's release, says, "During this suspension we will evaluate this evolving public health situation with the Oregon Health Authority, the Oregon Department of Education, the OSAA Executive Board, the OSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and member school administrators from throughout the state to determine when, or if, to resume the spring season."

Be clear, athletic directors like Thompson understand. While he — like everyone else directly or indirectly involved — is disappointed with what's been forced upon students and administrators as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, he equally recognizes there's little choice considering the situation.

"We're doing this for the greater good," he said. "My statement to spring coaches was that there's something a lot bigger than these sports right now, and that's taking care of kids. My concern right now is the kids' safety both physically and mentally, and everyone in the state is doing the same things, so there's no concern over getting behind. We're all in the same boat."

Thompson saw the devastation firsthand as the host school of the OSAA/OnPoint Community Credit Union 4A Boys and Girls State Basketball Tournament, as he was forced to break the news to the participating coaches who were just minutes away from tipoff.

"It was like a gut-punch to those coaches," Thompson said. "We were 10 minutes before the coaches meeting at the 4A tournament when we were notified by OSAA Executive Director Peter Weber that the tournament was off."

If, and when, the high school spring sports season resumes, there are still other considerations to look at before competition begins.

"You have to have a certain number of practices before competition," Ramp said.

And there will be no practices held during the suspension.

"Kids, if they want to, can do something on their own," Ramp said. "But coaches can't organize anything at all."

OSAA sanctioned spring season sports include baseball, softball, boys and girls track and field, boys and girls tennis, and boys and girls golf.

Boys and girls high school lacrosse are not sanctioned by the OSAA. The Oregon High School Lacrosse Association had this message from OHSLA commissioner Pete Schlesinger on its website this morning.

"To the OHSLA Community. With all that is going on in a World being effected with the Coronavirus19 we want to update everyone with where OHSLA Officers are at this moment. The Officers are monitoring the OSAA and other State sport entities. At this moment we are continuing with the 2020 Lacrosse season. We, as stated, will monitor the OSAA and how they handle the upcoming spring sport season. If, and when there are changes, we will act accordingly. Please refer and monitor the OHSLA website for further updates."

In light of it all, Thompson echoed the sentiments of everyone involved, including administrators, coaches, and students regarding the situation.

"My hope is that over these next two weeks kids are safe and we see the virus start to decrease," he said. "Then we're able to get back on the field to practice and get ready to play and have a safe place for kids and staff to be."

Dan Brood contributed to this story.


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