Francis Howell baseball coach Tony Perkins has been through many years of delays in the spring, and they have usually been due to the whims of Mother Nature.
This spring, Perkins and his Vikings team – along with all other St. Charles County spring teams and many other schools across the state – are in a holding pattern with the spring season due to a vastly different opponent.
On March 16, the Missouri State High School Activities Association [MSHSAA] issued a statement that the spring sports season has not been canceled at this time, but will change as school districts in all parts of the state adjust their priorities as health agencies continue to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had managed to get two weeks [of practice] in before Sunday evening, so now it’s hands-off,” Perkins said. “We were prepared for [the postponement]. We saw it coming, especially in my household having two seniors in college that are home now and a minor leaguer that’s home now from Florida. So, it’s not good right now.”
Virtually all area public districts and private schools have closed school and suspended extracurricular activities until at least April 22.
Organized practices can not be held while schools are closed. If school is in session, then games and practice can be held.
Francis Howell Central is another area school that has been impacted by the COVID-19 shutdown. In the wake of the shutdown, Spartan spring teams are adjusting accordingly.
“The kids can do things on their own, but they can’t work out with a coach or on campus and they can’t work out as a group,” Howell Central Athletic Director Scott Harris said. “So, right now, pretty much everything has to be done on their own.”
Harris said that although coaches are not allowed to hold practices with their athletes, they are still able to communicate with them during the postponement period.
“For example, a lot of coaches are giving them a lot of stuff that they can do to stay active at home, home workouts that they can do in the driveway or the backyard to just to stay in condition,” Harris said.
Should the season resume the 14 practice requirement remains in place per MSHSAA by-laws.
Preseason practices began for teams on March 2.
Perkins said that should the season resume just after April 22, he plans to have his team busy with games.
“Once they start to play, I’ll try to play [them] every day,” Perkins said.
MSHSAA is currently planning to hold spring championships for sports in mid-June at various member schools.
However, before then, there would need to be a resumption of the spring season.
At this point, April 22 will be the key date as to the future of the 2020 spring season. Behind the potential April 22 closure end date, schools would be set to resume no earlier than April 23.
“If you are in school right now, MSHSAA is making that a local decision [with schools having sports],” Harris said. “Each day there are more and more schools shutting down, so I feel that they will evaluate it then and we’ll go from there.”