Monday was supposed to be the start of city league basketball and volleyball here in Kodiak.
Instead, there were no squeaky shoes on gymnasium floors. The Kodiak middle and high school gyms were empty as a cluster of COVID-19 cases on the island have closed in-person schooling and pushed the city’s alert level to yellow.
That prompted City of Kodiak Parks and Recreation Director Corey Gronn to move back the start of both the adult basketball and volleyball leagues, and pause the youth Little Dribblers season.
“When the school district closes their buildings — since we are in those facilities — we are also pushed back,” Gronn.
Gronn anticipates all the leagues to resume once the school district opens its doors. The district is planning to reopen to in-person schooling on Nov. 13. That means leagues could be back by Nov. 15, if allowed, according to Gronn.
Also factoring into the cause of suspended play was the city moving to yellow status, limiting gatherings to less than 20 people. The city moved from green (low) to yellow (medium) status on Friday. There are currently 32 active COVID-19 cases on island.
“Our hope is that as soon as the status is changed and schools reopen, we will start playing as quickly as possible,” Gronn said. “We had a decent amount of teams sign up on both sides of the house, so I’m excited about that.”
There will be safety protocols in place when sports leagues resume.
Gronn said everybody — players, spectators and officials — will be health screened by a parks and recreation staff member before entering a facility. Face coverings will also be required to enter.
Gronn said people who are sick or recently traveled should stay home.
“We will do everything that we can to make it as safe as possible,” Gronn said. That includes plenty of hand sanitizer, limiting spectators to 20 or 30 people and no celebratory handshakes.
Little Dribblers had one one weekend of games before the closures. Gronn said more than 100 kids are part of this year’s league. Because of the smaller turnout, games are now played on a full-court instead of half a court.
“It really feels like more of a basketball atmosphere and more of a game scenario, and they (parents and players) have really liked it, so that is a change that we will probably keep no matter what.”
Gronn said there could be “minor disruptions” throughout the city league season as Kodiak deals with the pandemic.
During the closure, the ice rink, teen center and swimming pool will be cleaned.
“Hopefully, we will get out a short answer when we will resume those operations. At this time, we don’t have a date, but we are getting those prepared to reopen as soon as we can.”
With the ice rink closed, the Kodiak Hockey League season is also paused.