USD 259 sports shutdown affects Newton

Mark Schnabel

This content is being provided for free as a public service to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. Please support local journalism by subscribing to The Newton Kansan online at

Decisions made by other school districts will have an effect on the scheduling for Newton High School.

The Wichita USD 259 Board of Education voted Thursday night to cancel all fall sports activities.

The Wichita school board earlier decided to cancel all non-league games among its seven high schools — Wichita North, South, East, West, Northwest, Southeast and Heights. Wichita Northeast Magnet does not offer athletic competition. All are members of the Greater Wichita Athletic League, along with private Catholic schools Bishop Carroll and Kapaun-Mt. Carmel.

The Catholic Diocese of Wichita issued a statement late Friday that fall athletic competition will continue at both Bishop Carroll and Kapaun-Mt. Carmel high schools, subject to safety considerations.

Newton has no scheduled matches, outside of tournaments, against GWAL schools in football, volleyball or soccer. The soccer team was scheduled to play at the Titan Classic Sept. 7 to 12 at Wichita South, which is now canceled. The girls’ golf team was scheduled to play Sept. 30 at the Wichita North Invitational, which is now canceled.

The soccer team has scheduled a game Sept. 10 at Emporia to make up for one of the games lost at the Titan Classic.

In addition, Wichita schools were scheduled to attend the Newton, Maize and Derby volleyball invitationals, which the Railers were scheduled to compete. Wichita city schools also compete at many of the cross country meets where Newton attends.

Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League members McPherson High School and Buhler High School both issued identical guidelines for attending events there.

The Newton High School soccer team opens the season Saturday at McPherson. The Newton girls’ tennis team plays Sept. 3 at the McPherson Invitational. The Newton girls’ golf team competes Sept. 25 at the Buhler Invitational.

The guidelines are as follows:

• “Spectators will be limited to two per participant with a maximum of 25 percent venue capacity.

• “Each participant will get an event specific wristband that they will be responsible to distribute to their two spectators.

• “Spectators must wear the event specific wristband on their wrist in order to purchase their ticket at the event and enter the venue, wristbands must be worn during the event.

• “All passes will be suspended until spectator restrictions are lifted

• “This includes staff ID, senior citizen, complimentary, and league passes.

• “Spectators will be expected to wear masks at all events.

• “Spectators should sit as family units, and social distance.

• “Spectators will not be allowed near participant groups, or on fields/courts. Only essential personnel will be allowed near participant groups.

• “Depending on capacity limits, a limited number of student spectator wristbands will be available for students who have purchased an activity ticket, those will be distributed through the activities office.

• “All these spectator guidelines are subject to change based on local conditions.”

At this time, no information has been received from either district about the ability of fans for the visiting team to be able to attend.

According to Kansas State High School Activities Association executive director Bill Faflick, no adjustments are expected to be made in classifications in fall sports.

Newton athletic director Brian Becker was unavailable for comment.