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Sports officials monitor impact of COVID-19 virus

After a recent surge of COVID-19 throughout the state, most counties in Oklahoma are designated red on the COVID-19 alert system. That includes Canadian County.
Because of that, Mustang High School has decided to postpone all upcoming scrimmages for its winter season sports.
That included basketball scrimmages that were scheduled for Thursday and Saturday of this week.
“All of our scrimmages have been postponed. Right now we are allowing all winter sports to continue to practice, but we can’t scrimmage until we drop back below red,” according to Mustang Schools Athletic Director Robert Foreman.
With the winter sports schedule opening set for next month, Foreman says it’s the district’s intention to do everything possible to make sure and get the entire schedule in.
That means limiting outside contact with other athletes and teams until the situation is better in terms of the spreading COVID-19.
“It’s always been our goal to protect the varsity seasons. We’re trying to build and start the season Dec. 1,” Foreman said. “We just felt that with the situation the way it is at the moment, that would be the prudent and safest thing to do.”
Foreman said the teams won’t lose much experience by not scrimmaging.
“We allow our kids to continue to practice and prepare. Hopefully, we’ll get to Dec. 1 and be able to sell out our seasons.”
But to do that, the county must get out of the red. If Canadian County stays in the red heading into December, Foreman will have to make some unprecedented decisions.
“There is no superintendent’s or athletic director’s playbook when it comes to handling COVID. So, we collaborate with our peers and colleagues throughout the state,” Foreman said.
Most districts are continuing to practice, but aren’t scrimmaging, he said.
“ I think most of us have decided that right now to keep all practices in-house is the safest thing to do. We want to try to do everything we can to protect the start of the season, Foreman said.
“We have some great safety protocols in place. We think that we’re doing it right now, practicing safely with our screening processes.”
Counties go into the Red, which is the highest on the Oklahoma State School Board, when they are averaging at least 50 positive cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people.
Canadian County reached 60.97 last week, which is its highest since the chart was established in July.
“Right now, based on that chart, we’re red. We switched to distance learning, and really that’s the most important driving factor is distance learning. We needed to give our coaches and our student-athletes time to prepare and change for that situation,” Foreman said.
Mustang schools have been an an A-B schedule, which means the students attend classes on an alternating basis.
Monday, they began the distance learning process, which has them learning away from the classroom in a virtual setting.
Foreman said the goal is to give the district an opportunity do what is best for the students’ safety.
When the winter sports schedule does begin, Foreman says the same protocols and rules will be in place as that were used during the fall.
That includes limited capacity at games and a mask mandate upon entry into the gym.
Foreman acknowledges that during the fall, especially at outdoor venues, fans often took their masks once they got to their seats and nothing was done to them.
He says that can not happen during the winter with each sport being played inside.
“We’ve required masks in all of our facilities. But our outdoor sports, at times, you would see our fans not wearing masks,” Foreman said. “It’s going to be imperative that during the winter season indoors, all our fans take our safeguard seriously and they keep their masks on while in our stadiums and at our events.”
Mustang will start the season at 50 percent capacity for basketball and wrestling. But Foreman says the district has the option to change it if they feel it’s needed.

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