The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is starting to have an effect in Marion County.

Pella Athletic Director Dale Otte reports that two high school indoor track meets, both slated to be held at colleges have been called off.

When asked if this is due to the coronavirus, Otte commented, “Yes - as a matter of precaution at the decision of the college administrators.”

Called off track meets that would have included Pella High School athletes include the Iowa State University Indoor set for March 17 in Ames and the Little Hawkeye Conference Meet slated for Grinnell March 12.

Pella Christian is also a member of the LHC and this affects their school activities as well in the realm of sports.

When asked what is being talked about going forward, Otte said, “We will follow the guidelines of the state authorities as this is a very fluid situation.”

The Knoxville Panthers weren’t planning on sending anyone to the Iowa State Indoor according to Panther track coach Eric Kellar.

An e-mail from Knoxville Superintendent Cassi Pearson to staff members Thursday, in part read, “This week has been filled with webinars, conference calls, and updates regarding the virus. I don't see that changing in the near future. As of now, we are making decisions based on recommendations from the Iowa Department of Public Health. At this time, we anticipate continuing to have school and just remind everyone how important it is to stay home if you are sick. We will be contacting parents of students that are in a high risk health category about alternative plans. If you have a chronic health issue or are required to follow a specific protocol after returning from traveling, please contact your direct supervisor asap.”

Central College

Due to the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, the Central College baseball and softball spring break trips to Florida next week have been cancelled.

Central’s baseball team (3-3) was slated to play nine games in Winter Haven and Auburndale, Florida, including an American Rivers three-game series with Coe College.

The Dutch softball squad (6-1), ranked No. 8 in the NFCA Division III top 25 poll, was to play 10 games in Leesburg and Clermont, Florida.

The decision coincides with the NCAA’s Thursday announcement cancelling all winter and spring championships.

Perry Bell can be reached at sports@journalexpress.net or by calling the Knoxville newsroom at 641-842-2155.

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