While some school districts across Pennsylvania have requested the PIAA move playoff basketball games away from their schools as COVID-19 spreads throughout the country, the PIAA Swimming & Diving Championships are scheduled to begin on time today at Bucknell University.
According to Melissa Mertz, assistant executive director of the PIAA, Bucknell has put protocols in place for the four-day event.
On Tuesday afternoon, the university announced its students — on spring break this week — would shift to a “remote education” plan for the rest of the semester, ending in-person classes. Students will be required to move out of dorms on campus by March 19.
“Bucknell University has put protocols in place for precautionary measures — additional hand sanitizer in all locations, spectator groups broken down into smaller sections, hand-washing stations and signage,” Mertz said in an email Tuesday afternoon. The registration process, which began Tuesday night, went on as scheduled along with practice for 3A swimmers and divers, whose competition begins this morning. Class 2A qualifiers, including all swimmers from the Valley who have qualified, don’t compete until Friday and Saturday.
Mertz said to her knowledge, no athletes have withdrawn from the championship because of the spread of the coronavirus.
This week the PIAA posted a memo to its website announcing it remains in constant contact with the Department of Health.
“The Department of Health has advocated no cancellation of public events or community gatherings,” the memo noted. “The Department of Health is monitoring the state and working with all area health departments for consistent messaging and evaluations of citizens’ health status.”
In Class 6A boys basketball, tonight’s Wilson versus Lower Merion game was moved to Milton Hershey after Coatesville — the original host site — backed out of hosting after Lower Merion was closed this week because of the outbreak.
The PIAA also recommended pre-game and postgame handshakes be replaced with fist bumps, forearm bumps or elbow bumps.