With spring break being extended through schools across Texas and the United States, and finally a quarantine order coming down from governmental officials, which has forced schools to close down completely or for an indefinite amount of time, these past couple of weeks have been difficult to say the least. It is nearly impossible to fathom the long-term implications of these recent events.
Here in Dumas, as in other schools, athletics have been suspended through May 4. Everything appears to be shut down. However, school officials are working to ensure area are as clean and sanitary as possible. Dumas High School Athletic Director Stan Stroebel said actions are being taken to ensure all school facilities are being taken care of through these difficult times.
"Our custodial staff is doing a tremendous job of keeping everything sterilized. Our athletic facilities are shut down, following CDC guidelines," he said.
In all his years of educational experience, he has never witnessed anything like this.
It is what it is," Stroebel explained. "I believe it is a 'reset' button for all of us; makes us evaluate what is and isn't important. We all need to do our part and making sure this thing comes to an end as quickly as possible. It is definitely different.
"When talking to others about COVID-19 and what is taking place always gets summed up as different or surreal. In my almost 30 years in education, I have never experienced something like this."
As it has been noted, the spring sports season is suspended and therefore affects many people, not just the student-athletes, but coaches, school staff, the community and others. Coaches were hopeful for a successful season across the multiple sports. As it is, it doesn't appear there will be much more of a spring season or no season at all.
"It has basically turned it upside down," Stroebel said. "Our spring sports are basically shut down. We are having to find ways to engage our athletes in a different way."
He supports the decision, but knows it is disappointing to the coaches and players.
"If this decision helps limit the spread of the virus, I one hundred percent support it," he said. "I do hurt for the athletes and coaches. I know a lot of time and work has been invested to prepare to compete and it has been put on hold for now anyway. Their routines have been interrupted. The opportunity to be with their team is not there. It just tough. As a coach, you want to be around your athletes making sure they are okay and right now we can't."
And of course, it hasn't just affected sports but learning as well, as schools are closed off to students.
"You go from face to face instruction to distance learning in a matter of two weeks," he said. "With that being said, I could not be more proud of a group of teachers, coaches and administrators as I am with Dumas'. It has been unbelievable watching these guys come together and development a totally different way of instruction than what they are used to doing and working on doing what is best for our students."
It is on everyone's mind, more than likely, this health crisis passes soon and life may return to a normal status. Until then, follow guidelines, take precautions and keep the faith.