School Sports Suspended
By Genevieve Turner
Just as Red Lion athletes were ready to tip-off their winter season, high schools across Pennsylvania heard the news that K-12 sports would be suspended until early January.
The suspension runs until 8 a.m. on Jan. 4, 2021. Gov. Tom Wolf announced this and other changes during a press conference on Thursday in an effort to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The release noted that there has been a significant increase in cases among schools. Pennsylvania has seen an influx of cases since October with the number of daily cases and hospitalizations seeing record highs in the last few months as well as deaths per day, reaching the hundreds.
Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine explained the decision. “The virus continues to strain our health care systems, and the dramatic rise in cases among all age groups, including among school-age children, is alarming.” Levine said. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been more than 37,500 cases among children age 5 to 18, yet 9,500 of those cases occurred in the past two weeks.”
This postponement is in hopes that daily cases go down over the next three weeks, making it safer for high school students to participate in winter sports. The release noted that because of the increase in cases among schools that it “increases the risk that asymptomatic participants will spread the virus at a game or practice, in the locker room, while traveling to and from events, or at team meals, parties or other gatherings.”
Dec. 10, 2020 marked the fifth time that Pennsylvania recorded 10,000 new cases of COVID-19 in a single day since Dec. 2, 2020. Before Oct., Pennsylvania had not reported more than 2,000 new cases per day.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID Data Tracker and the Mayo Clinic, Pennsylvania has an average of 9,898 cases per day in the last seven days as well as recording that 78 people out of every 100,000 in the state have COVID-19.
The number of hospitalizations has also risen to 5,877. Until Nov. 18, the highest number of hospitalizations was 2,800, on April 17. Since then each day has marked a new record high. Pennsylvania has the third highest number of hospitalization in the country after California and Texas.
This announcement comes one week after the Red Lion Area School District Board of School Directors approved a revised plan for health and safety for interscholastic sporting events at the Dec. 3 school board meeting. The plan lays out when and what materials get sanitized as well as how to keep coaches and athletes safe by social distancing when possible.