With rising COVID-19 cases in Anchorage and around the state, the Alaska Schools Activities Association announced the cancellation of all fall championship events on Tuesday.
The activities impacted are football, swimming and diving, gymnastics, rifle, music, Esports, DDF and volleyball.
The press release said regional championships are allowed for activities currently in session, if completed before Nov. 22.
Also, ASAA is postponing all other activities until the adoption of a revised calendar.
According to the press release, the decision to cancel fall state championship events and postpone all other activities was based on three decisions:
• Consultation with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and the Anchorage Health Department.
• The current status of COVID-19 case counts and the projections of the case counts increasing in Anchorage and other parts of the state.
• The impact of travel during the holiday season both into and out of Alaska.
According to the Anchorage Daily News, the ASAA board met with state health officials on Tuesday morning. Following the meeting the board voted to cancel championship events.
“I think the board made the appropriate decision,” ASAA executive director Billy Strickland told the ADN. “I know we’re going to get second-guessed. It’s easy to make the easy decision. No one gets into this business to cancel activities, so not having state championships is something we take seriously.”
The Division III football state playoffs started last week, while the Division I and II playoffs were scheduled to to begin this weekend. The volleyball state tournament was slated to begin on Nov. 12 and swimming on Dec. 4.
ASAA held state championships in cross country last weekend in Anchorage — the first state events held in the state since last fall.
While most schools around the state have competed this season, Kodiak athletes have been limited to intrasquad scrimmages since August as the district has not allowed off-island travel.
The football team’s season ended with a blue/gold game on Sept. 18, while the cross country team finished with an on-island regional championship on Oct. 3. The school’s volleyball and swimming programs are still holding practices.
In the past weeks, the states daily COVID-19 counts have routinely reached triple figures. There have been 10,028 positive cases and 60 deaths in the state as of Tuesday, with 5,284 being recovered.
High school teams have dealt with delays throughout this fall season because of COVID-19 outbreaks. Recently, the Anchorage School District suspended high school volleyball for two weeks and Eagle River athletics for a weekend.
Football teams on the Kenai Pensinsula, in the Mat-Su Valley and in Fairbanks have also had games canceled because of the pandemic.
In early October, a youth hockey tournament in Anchorage drew more than 300 people, with teams coming from all over the state. The tournament has been linked to a cluster of COVID-19 cases.
The ASAA board of directors is scheduled to meet again on Nov. 9.