St. James Parish schools, like much other systems in the state, will not conduct practices during the 30-day suspension of schools mandated by Gov. John Bel Edwards as part of the state’s effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
“When the recommendations starting coming in from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) this weekend and they seem to be going with a model that everybody is now following as best practices, we saw the writing on the wall over the weekend,” said Dwain Jenkins. “Coach (Robert) Valdez and I met with the superintendent and decided in the best interest of everybody, we would cease practice and use of our facilities until further notice. That’s where we are right now.
“All of these events are pretty unprecedented. Obviously, you want to err on the side of caution, but when you hear reports that the country might still be dealing with this possibly into July.”
Jenkins is the athletic director and head football coach at Lutcher and Valdez serves in the same capacity at St. James. Jenkins also is the president of the Louisiana High School Coaches Association.”
While there has been speculation of the coronavirus continuing into the summer and perhaps beyond, Edwards’ mandate is effective through April 13, pending further notice.
At midafternoon Monday, Eddie Bonine, executive director of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association, release an updated the following memorandum on the subject:
“The governor’s office and the state health department have mandated a 30 day suspension of schools, school activities and facilities. If this timeframe holds true, it would not further impact the remainder of the 2020 spring sports regular season and postseason play.
“We will keep all processes in place for postseason play. If the spring championship season extends for any period of time, the LHSAA will be ready to conduct tournaments in their entirety. The earliest possible date for the resumption of competition will be Tuesday, April 14 unless otherwise noted. At this time the association will respect all decisions made by schools and school districts in regard to practices during this time of suspension. Yet, we strongly recommend all LHSAA member schools and non-regulated club/travel/non-school athletic programs follow the Governor’s mandate of social distancing and cease practices and play immediately. Our first objective is to get students back into the classroom and then have them return to the athletic arenas when appropriate.
“All LHSAA constitution and bylaws in the handbook will continue to be applied including, but not limited to, independent team rules, intra-squad scrimmages and practices, workouts and individual training sessions.
“We will continue to monitor the communications from the governor’s office, as well as the state health department, and consider recommendations as they come.”
While the LHSAA has left the matter of practices up to individual school districts, almost all seem to be complying with the moratorium.
“I think the LHSAA understands that it is made up member schools and instead of them pushing out some mandate at the top, allowing each of those schools to leave it up to them to make that decision. I think it’s been pretty much consistent around the state that everybody is shutting everything down. I’ve read (various) press releases and it seems everyone is that same approach of what is considered best practice,” Jenkins said.