top of page

COVID-19 and Cheer

Extra special thanks to Steven Pawlyk of ipp music for compiling the above link of up-to-date cheer comp statuses. I encourage you to read his full blog at

UPDATE: Disney is temporarily shuttering Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland Paris, beginning this Sunday, March 15, and lasting through the end of the month, due to the coronavirus pandemic. It follows the news that Disneyland California and Universal Studios, Hollywood are temporarily closing starting Saturday, March 14, as well.

The announcement means all Disney parks worldwide will be closed by next week.

The Disney Cruise Line is also suspending all new departures beginning Saturday through the end of March. The Walt Disney Company will pay its cast members during that closure period.

The hotels at Disney World and Disneyland Paris will remain open until further notice, as will the retail and dining complexes, Disney Springs at Walt Disney World and Disney Village at Disneyland Paris.

Universal Studios Hollywood expects to reopen on March 28, while Disneyland foresees opening its doors again at the end of the month.

“The health and safety of our team members and guests is always our top priority,” said a Universal Studios spokesperson. “Out of an abundance of caution and in response to the guidance provided by the California Department of Public Health, Universal Studios Hollywood will temporarily close beginning Saturday, March 14. The theme park anticipates reopening on March 28 as we continue to monitor the situation. We will provide timely updates as conditions evolve.”

When this blog was written at 8:30 p.m. est:

I've been monitoring and posting international, national, local and cheer industry news all day.

People with any association with cheer-be it athlete, parent, coach or gym owner, are a passionate lot and their reactions followed suit.

I've read about and listened to the honest fears, opinions and disappointments of parents should the cheer season be over amid arguments about why it shouldn't. Their seniors deprived of their last or only visit to Worlds. The hard work and practices that everyone has engaged in shouldn't go for not. The money spent or deposited on airfare, hotel and car reservations lost.

"Let the kids cheer, everyone is over-reacting" or "do the right thing and cancel, there's more important things than cheer."

Closer to home, three unconfirmed cases in my public schools are being tested.

No spring sports until March 30.

UPDATE: Massachusetts, where I live, has declared a state of emergency like many states. Our school system is closed until at least April 6.

My boyfriend flew home from Florida on Monday March 2. Orlando International Airport is always bustling so he made sure he was at his gate early. For six hours of delay after delay, six hours of sitting in the crowded terminal as passengers embarked and disembarked from all over the world, he sat.

Five days-later, the time-frame given to become Coronavirus symptomatic, he started shivering in the middle of the night and awoke with chills that two blankets couldn't contain. When trying to get up, his joints were so achy he needed assistance. He was exhausted and had a cough but we weren't sure it was THE cough. My standard way of checking on fevers-a kiss on the forehead-was shocking, his head was so hot. Confirmation with a real thermometer showed he had a 103 degrees fever.

Convinced he had the Coronavirus, the next day I spent nearly $200 on sanitizers in all its shapes and forms- hand/surface/floor and disinfectants that spray, wipe and wash. And yes, hearing rumors that the country's paper-mill capitol was under quarantine (it isn't), I bought more than my average share of toilet paper. His fever was still high and on the fourth day we were talking about going to urgent care. Then this morning the fever was gone. He's still tired but it's a relief. It was scary.

We gave away front row seats to RAIN: A Tribute to The Beatles, a show we were really looking forward to and bought tickets for last fall. I've been taking vitamins and Airborne. My daughter and I are supposed to fly to Orlando next week for a family celebration and I was planning on going to visit my mom in South Florida.

But now I don't know about that.

Here's what I do know:

COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, has killed more than 4,500 people worldwide. More widely known as Coronavirus, it has spread to nearly all states, and the case count is now more than 1,300. Deaths in the United States climbed to 37 this afternoon.

Large gatherings are being canceled all over the country. I'm trying to find the report made by the CDC or World Health Organization advising no group larger than 30 people should gather in one place. Last night, the Coachella festival was officially postponed until October. Chicago was the latest city to cancel its St. Patrick's Day parade. D.C. declared a state of emergency hours after urging large events be canceled, and there's at least one member of the Tokyo 2020 board that thinks the summer Olympics should be postponed. The NCAA basketball tournaments are now canceled, and Disneyland is closing Saturday. The National Hockey League and Major League Soccer suspended their seasons, following the National Basketball Association's lead after multiple players tested positive. Major League Baseball canceled the rest of spring training and postponed Opening Day by at least two weeks.

Ohio is closing all of its schools, including K-12, for at least three weeks. The “extended spring break” will begin on Monday, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said. Around 100,000 Ohioans likely have the virus but don't know it, the Ohio Health Department estimates, based on a 1 percent infection rate.

Last night (March 11, 2020) address, President Trump announced a 30-day ban on travel from most of Europe. The details of his travel restrictions — to not include the United Kingdom, were announced immediately after the World Health Organization declared a pandemic.

Disease experts use the term “pandemic” to describe when an epidemic has become rampant in multiple countries and continents simultaneously. (The term comes from the Greek word “pan,” meaning “all,” and “demos,” meaning “people.”)

While the word may evoke fear, it describes how widespread an outbreak may be, not its deadliness.

“I think one of the things people misunderstand when it comes to pandemics is it’s not about how severe it is or how many cases there are or even how worried we need to be. It’s about literal geography,” said Caitlin Rivers, epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

This morning the cheer world awoke to make its own important decisions. Information was being shared so fast in the last 24-hours, that mistakes were made. So I decided to compile official releases and only statements that have been verified, confirmed and guaranteed correct.

Disneyland To Close Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Summit and Worlds are held at Walt Disney World not Disneyland.

Meanwhile, Disney World in Orlando, Florida, remains open. The site employs more than 75,000 people, making it the largest single-site employer in the United States.

This post is noteworthy as many other events, conferences and professional sports seasons have been postponed or cancelled. If Disney closes Disney World it will be out of Varsity's hands, unless an arrangement is made to keep ESPN Wide World of Sports open. Stay tuned.

First, this release from Varsity came out:

All Varsity events for the next two weekends, excluding UCA, are being postponed.

However, changes have been made to UCA:

-It is a two-day event that has been reduced to a one day. UCA competition will be on Saturday only.

Some gyms have decided to take matters of health and safety into their own hands:

-Brandon pulled their teams from the UCA. It was Brandon Senior Black's chance to win the triple crown.

-Stingrays and Cali Allstars SMOED have also pulled out of UCA.

-Many gyms are working with fill-ins and creating Plan Bs

What about Summit and Worlds?

Nothing official has come out about Summit.

As for Worlds, Les Stella, Director, International All Star Federation sent the following notice to the cheer community at 3:38 today, March 12, 2020:

The International All Star Federation (IASF) is actively following and analyzing all developments relative to the Corona Virus crisis. In addition to monitoring information being released by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA, we are in close communication with the International Cheer Union and the Walt Disney World organization as various options are being considered with regard to the upcoming 2020 IASF Championships in Orlando (Editor's Note: More commonly known as "Worlds" is scheduled to take place on April 24th, 25th, and 26th). We will keep you updated on developments as they transpire.We want to assure you that the health and safety of our athletes, coaches, officials and fans are of paramount importance, and all decisions will be made with that in mind.

-Les Stella, Director

International All Star Federation

The 2020 USASF/IASF Cheer Worlds event will take place on April 24, 25 and 26, in advance of the ICU World Championship. This competition is more commonly known as "Worlds" and includes sees multiple teams, per division, per country compete.The International Cheer Union (ICU) World & Junior World Cheerleading Championships will take place on April 27, 28 and 29. This event sees one team, per country, per division compete against each other and in the past has been held on the eve of Worlds. Decisions about the rest of the season are ongoing.

THIS is why things are being cancelled due to #COVID19 in one perfect picture.

It is NOT because people are getting hysterical or because they believe the virus is so deadly they are panicking.

It is because we only have so much capacity to deal with lot of very sick people. If we can delay the spread by keeping people away from each other, we have a chance to help more people effectively and not overwhelm hospitals and infrastructure. There are only so many nurses, doctors, hospital beds and pieces of equipment to help people that may eventually get virus related pneumonia. PLEASE SHARE so that people understand this is public health strategy by the CDC, not mass hysteria or over reaction. AND, keep washing your hands because the soap will kill the virus better than anything else!

About LISA D. WELSH Chief-Creative-Officer

As a professional journalist I’ve interviewed former presidents and sitting governors, covered Olympians and professional athletes and shadowed Hollywood A-listers and local celebrities. I’ve also written about some of the most gruesome crimes the streets of the second largest city in New England can spit out. I am Associated Press credentialed and my credits include The New York Times, The Boston Globe and Publications I've written for include Inside Cheerleading, The Atlantic, Today's Parent, Living, Senior Advocate and Jewish Chronicle magazines.

On the other side of life’s spectrum, I’m a proud cheer mom of 20 seasons and served a term on the United States All Star Federation's Parent Action Committee. In journalism they say "write about what you know," and CheerMAD was born on June 19, 2011. My goal was to have 10,000 readers in the first year; we had that in six weeks. Most recently CheerMAD had more than 12 million social media impressions, with the majority of posts receiving more than 250,000.

348 views0 comments
bottom of page