High school sports for the 2019-20 academic school year are over.
In the wake of the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), Alabama public schools will remain closed through the remainer of the scheduled school year and students will utilize online instruction at home beginning April 6.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, State Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey and Dr. Scott Harris with the Alabama Public Department of Health announced the decision to keep Alabama schools closed during a press conference Thursday afternoon in Montgomery.
That announcement also means that high school spring sports, sidelined since March 17, will not resume.
“Like thousands of others, I am deeply saddened and disappointed that our schools have closed, and spring sports will not have an opportunity to finish their seasons,” said AHSAA executive director Steve Savarese in a statement released by the AHSAA.
“Even more so, I am disheartened for all student-athletes, contest officials, their coaches, families, student bodies, fans, communities and especially our seniors. We are facing an unprecedented health crisis, but I am prayerful that the steps we are taking now within our schools and across our nation will enable all those affected to return to a sense of normalcy sooner than later.”
School in Alabama had been closed since March 18 and were slated to remain closed until April 6 prior to Ivey’s announcement on Thursday.
The current school year officially ends June 5. Mackey said graduation ceremonies and high school proms could potentially be held later in the summer. When asked directly about high school sports, he delivered the news athletes and coaches were fearing.
“Unfortunately for sports, for band, it means the end for this year,” Mackey said. “I’m truly sorry, and I know Gov. Ivey and Dr. Harris are sorry that students are losing so many of the fun activities of their senior year that they really count on, but we have to do what is the most important and pressing thing and that is protecting the health and safety of our community.”
A memo from the AHSAA to superintendents, principals, athletic directors and spring sports head coaches stated that the organization and its Central Board “understand the hardships and disappointments you are facing due to school closures, but also know, we are committed to putting health, safety and overall well-being of our administrators, coaches and student-athletes at the forefront during this challenging time, and our priorities must focus on returning to a normal school year in the 2020-21 and graduation for the seniors of 2020.”
The memo also stated that the AHSAA maintains its previous guidelines “on what can and cannot be done” while schools are closed. “All AHSAA member schools’ athletic events and activities including, but not limited to, contests, practices, weightlifting and conditioning are hereby suspended until further notice.”
The AHSAA has created a spring sports contingency committee, a fall sports committee and a summer competition committee “to develop contingency plans for spring evaluations, summer competition/camps, dead weeks and beginning start date for fall sports.” Those plans would be dependent on school campuses re-opening.