Greensburg Salem shuts down athletics until Jan. 26

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Friday, December 18, 2020 | 8:31 PM


Greensburg Salem athletes received some sobering news Friday when the school district announced that all sports will be halted until Jan 26.

The decision, according to athletic director Frank Sundry, wasn’t easy, but it came after school officials listened to health experts about the current spread of the coronavirus.

All athletics across the state were put on pause until Jan. 4 by Gov. Tom Wolf.

“I know there are some unhappy people, and I feel bad for the athletes. They’ve done everything we’ve asked, and now we’re asking them to be patient,” Sundry said.

The school announced Friday morning that students would not return for in-person instruction until Jan. 26. A letter about sports from superintendent Gary Peiffer was posted on the district’s website later in the day.

“As you know, we are in the midst of a surge of COVID-19, with a two week positivity rate hovering around twenty percent and confirmed cases reaching over 1800,” the letter read. “The hospitalization rates due to COVID-19 are on the rise. This current surge is attributed to the increase of family and small gatherings that occurred at Thanksgiving. A new surge is expected after Christmas and New Year’s, which could extend well into January. With the current and projected high level of community spread, the District is taking steps to mitigate that spread for the health and safety of our students and staff.

“In addition to delaying the return to hybrid classes, the District is also delaying having extra-curricular activities and sports until students can return to hybrid instruction scheduled for January 26th. This additional step is being advised by medical professionals who note that with sports, students cannot socially distance from one another, they cannot remain in a pod of the same students and they cannot remain in their own home gyms and venues.”

Sundry said he and school officials are awaiting word from the WPIAL and PIAA to see what they decide at Monday and Tuesday meetings.

The delay probably means the wrestling team will only compete in individual tournaments in February. The boys basketball team won’t play its first game until Jan. 29 and the girls basketball team until the second week of February.

Sundry said he’s hoping he’ll be able to put together some sort of schedule for athletes in all sports. He hopes the WPIAL will accommodate the district. Sundry said he hasn’t heard if any other district in the county will follow Greensburg Salem’s lead.

“I know it’s tough, but we’re thinking about the safety of our students, their families and our teachers and administration,” Sundry said. “The athletic teams have done a good job. We’ve only had one reported case in the fall and winter of an athlete that got covid-19.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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