AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas officials postponed all public high school athletic and academic competitions on Wednesday until May 11 because of the swine flu outbreak.
The move suspends the baseball and softball seasons and eliminates the regional track championships that were to start Friday, said Charles Breithaupt, executive director of the University Interscholastic League. He said league officials acted on the recommendation of public health officials.
"The health and safety of our student activity participants is of the utmost importance," Breithaupt said. "Taking every possible precaution to prevent the further spreading of this disease is an important contribution to the welfare of our great state, and altering the schedule of our events is a way to keep our participants safe."
School officials say 53,000 students are out of school due to concern over the virus, and dozens of schools were closed to be sanitized.
The state golf and tennis championships are scheduled to begin May 11.
The state track meet, one of the largest high school track and field competitions in the country, has been extended from its normal two days to three and is scheduled for May 12-14.
All UIL academic competitions, including a state meet that was to begin May 7, were also postponed and will be rescheduled later.
With 16 confirmed cases of swine flue in Texas, Gov. Rick Perry announced a disaster declaration Wednesday for the entire state. The declaration will allow officials to begin emergency protective measures and seek reimbursement from the federal government.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.