Area high schools have started developing plans to address concerns surrounding the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but none have announced plans to change upcoming athletic competitions.
This comes after the Missouri State High School Activities Association decided to limit the number of spectators allowed at the Show-Me Showdown state basketball tournament held March 12-14 and 19-21 at JQH Arena and Hammons Student Center in Springfield.
MSHSAA released another statement on Friday, March 13, stating that its staff and board of directors have made no changes to the spring sports schedule, but it is monitoring any information that comes from the Missouri Department of Health, Gov. Mike Parson’s office and state departments for K-12 education.
Smithville Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Darren Shaffer said in an email that contingency plans were still a work in progress and were changing by the hour.
He said no events have been cancelled at this point and practices for spring sports have not been suspended at this time.
In an email sent to the entire Smithville school district, Superintendent Todd Schuetz said that plans are being discussed regarding potential school closures but no steps will be taken at this time.
“Although the information we receive changes rapidly, at this time we are 'business as usual.'” Schuetz said in the email. “We must be prepared, however, for when that status changes.
"The administrative team has been working on this issue and principals will pull together their staff this afternoon.”
Schuetz asked students and staff to take home any district-issued devices and chargers during spring break in case their return is delayed by school closures.
Liberty North Athletic Director Bob Kernell said in an email that the school is currently in the process of developing plans for upcoming sporting events.
He said things are moving so fast right now, but the school will have a plan and will release a public announcement soon.
Liberty Athletic Director Jason Cahill has not been reached for comment at this time.
MSHSAA announced later in the evening that state quarterfinals games have been moved from Silverstein Eye Centers Arena in Independence to various high school gymnasiums.
Liberty will play Blue Springs at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 14, at Blue Springs South, where only essential personnel — 60 individuals from each school counting players, coaches and administration — will be allowed into the gym.
Kearney Activities Director Dave Schwarzenbach was not available for comment this week.
This is a developing story. More details on how area high schools plan to handle athletic competitions in light of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 will be updated as they become available.