All athletic events and other “non-essential travel and events” for all students and staff in the Santa Barbara Unified School District and all schools in Santa Barbara County have been cancelled or postponed through the remainder of March, effectively immediately, the County Superintendent of Schools announced Thursday.

The sports impacted include baseball, softball, boys golf, boys tennis, boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls swimming, boys and girls track & field and boys volleyball.

Susan Salcido, the County Superintendent of Schools, said her decision is based on the recommendation of the California Department of Public Health, which earlier Thursday called for a ban of events of 250 people or more, to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“With the recent guidance from the California Department of Public Health, our Santa Barbara County public schools are united in our approach to cancel or postpone large events and those that cannot accommodate social distancing,” said Salcido in a statement. “School itself is an essential gathering and will continue unless the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department gives direction otherwise.

“Each school district is carefully balancing the importance of public health with the need for students to learn and be provided with continued school supports.”

The Santa Barbara Unified School District said schools remain open at this time.

“The Santa Barbara County Education Office is in frequent communication with the Santa Barbara County Department of Public Health and the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management as well as school districts, charter and independent schools about issues related to students and their families, and our schools.

“Questions on specific school-based events should be directed to the school district,” Salcido said.

Rob Wigod, Commissioner of Athletics for the CIF-Southern Section, informed the section’s more than 650 member schools that the decision to cancel or postpone athletic and other school activities “should be made by local schools and school districts, in concert with their local and state health officials and guidance from the Centers of Disease Control.

“This is the most efficient plan of action going forward and we have full confidence in our local leaders to make the correct decisions in keeping their students and families safe.”

SBCC also suspended its spring sports indefinitely per a directive from the California Community College Athletics Association (CCCAA) Board of Directors.

The cancellation of local high school and community college athletic events falls in line with the decision of professional and college sports organizations to cancel games and suspend seasons due to the danger of spreading the coronavirus.

The NBA, NHL and Major League Soccer suspended their seasons; the NCAA canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, in addition to its remaining winter championships and all spring sports; Major League Baseball canceled the remainder of spring training and delayed the start of the regular season for at least two weeks.

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.