IHSAA shuts down high school sports, other activities

High school sports and activities will be on hold starting Tuesday, in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19.

The suspension will run through April 5, the Idaho High School Activities Association said Monday.

During this time, games, practices and team meetings are on hold, and students and school athletic facilities will be off limits to students and staff.

“Implementing cancellations and/or suspension is taken in part with consultation with public health officials to implement best practices in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and therefore aid in protection of students and the general public; to reduce competitive inequity among member schools and in an effort to have the opportunity to hold our spring state tournaments/events on the assigned dates/sites as those dates will not be extended,” the IHSAA said Monday.

The IHSAA decision affects two other events.

  • State cheer and dance championships are canceled. They will not be rescheduled.
  • The state debate championship has been postponed.

The IHSAA announcement comes as many school districts have closed in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus, and other districts are excusing absences or planning to start spring break early. (For an up-to-date rundown of school closures and schedules, click here. For all of our stories related to coronavirus, click here.)

On Sunday, Gov. Brad Little declined to call for a statewide school closure, instead leaving the decision to local school officials.

As of this morning, Idaho is reporting five confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Here, in full, is the IHSAA statement:

The Idaho High School Activities Association, in the response to COVID-19, and to best serve our member schools, student participants, coaches and Idaho families are announcing the following:

  • Cancellation of the association’s State Cheer/Dance Championships, this event will not be re-scheduled.
  • The State Debate Championship is still postponed as we work on the possibility of combining with the State Speech Championships.
  • Suspension of sanctioned sports and activities for all of its member schools effective Tuesday, March 17 through Sunday, April 5. 

Implementing cancellations and/or suspension is taken in part with consultation with public health officials to implement best practices in slowing the spread of COVID 19 and therefore aid in protection of students and the general public; to reduce competitive inequity among member schools and in an effort to have the opportunity to hold our spring state tournaments/events on the assigned dates/sites as those dates will not be extended.

During the suspension, IHSAA member schools are not to compete in games or contests. Member schools are not to conduct practices in IHSAA sanctioned sports at any location. Neither member schools nor their coaches nor student athletes are to hold meetings. Member schools are not to allow students or coaches at any IHSAA member school to use the school’s athletic facilities for a practice, game or contest in any IHSAA sanctioned sport regardless of the affiliation (club or otherwise) of the group seeking to use the facilities. The use of athletic facilities for currently scheduled classes as a part of the regular school curriculum such as P.E. classes is allowed.  Rule 8-11, Outside Competition is still in effect. 

The IHSAA office as well as the Board of Directors, will continue to monitor the rapidly changing landscape of the COVID-19 information and will work with our member schools and health officials to make informed and well thought out decisions. 

Additional information will be sent to schools and/or districts as it becomes available.

 

About Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on KIVI 6 On Your Side; "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television; and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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