Monday, 23 March 2020 15:19

NCHSAA 'continuing to assess' spring sports following Cooper's closures

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Richmond's spring sports will likely be shelved following classroom closures through May 15. Richmond's spring sports will likely be shelved following classroom closures through May 15. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

CHAPEL HILL — High school student-athletes and coaches wanting to get back to their respective playing surfaces this spring may not get that chance.

In a press conference held Monday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced he was closing all North Carolina school buildings through May 15. 

His latest Executive Order comes after he and State Superintendent Mark Johnson acknowledged fighting the coronavirus outbreak would be a longer process.

“We arrived at May 15 by looking at the CDC and public health guidance, but as you know this is a rapidly evolving health crisis and if the guidance changes, we will adjust the order,” Cooper said. 

“I have asked that the plan lay out how we are going to make sure that all school employees are able to continue to safely work and to get paid during this time.”

The extension of schools being out for nearly another two months will likely impact the interscholastic spring sports season, which was suspended by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association on Thursday, March 12.

The original bar put in place by the NCHSAA was to run through April 6, but now Commissioner Que Tucker is saying the rest of the 2020 spring slate may be in jeopardy.

“We are continuing to assess the COVID-19 situation that has closed schools and forced suspension of interscholastic athletics,” Tucker said in a statement issued Monday. 

“While it is important to note that at times, interscholastic athletics can and do go on during school closures, it is difficult to imagine them being resumed if, to prevent further spread of the virus, Gov. Cooper were to close schools for the remainder of this academic year,” she added.

There have been times in the past where athletic events have been held even when schools are out due to weather or other reasons, but Tucker’s comments point to that likely not being the case with Cooper’s Executive Order.

Richmond Senior High School is one of the hundreds of high schools across the state that has seen its six varsity programs and three junior varsity teams shelve their respective seasons amid the outbreak. 

Per the NCHSAA, athletes and coaches are not permitted to practice together during the suspension. However, players may workout safely from home.

With the new date of possibly returning to classrooms set for mid May, that would be the middle of the high school spring sport playoff season. Many of Richmond’s programs had just two weeks’ worth of playing time before the suspension was first instituted.

Tucker said the NCHSAA will be interacting with its Board of Directors to determine any future changes, while also using the guidance from state government officials.

“The NCHSAA Board of Directors and staff will weigh all decisions based on the directions given by governmental leaders and organizations charged with public health and safety during this unprecedented time,” Tucker’s statement closed.

ROSports will update this article with any new information as it becomes available.

Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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