High school spring sports suspended until May

The suspension of spring sports until at least May 4 affects thousands of high school athletes including Rosemount senior Jonathan Mann (right) a returning state track and field medalist.

High school spring sports are postponed until at least May 4 following Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order Wednesday requiring Minnesotans to remain at home for at least two weeks because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

The order requires school buildings, which were closed last week by state order, to remain closed until May 4. Schools will implement distance learning procedures. The Minnesota State High School League on Wednesday said participation in all spring activities will be suspended until the school closure declaration is lifted. The MSHSL, in a news release, said it has not yet decided whether to cancel spring activities.

The stay-at-home order takes effect at 11:59 p.m. Friday, March 27, and runs until 5 p.m. Friday, April 10. After that, Walz said he hoped to scale back to moderate social distancing practices to protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19 symptoms. Bar and restaurant closures for indoor dining were extended to May 1, although those establishments can continue to offer delivery and takeout.

People who work in what the state classified as “critical sectors,” including health care, law enforcement, child care, first responders, and grocery and agriculture, are exempt from the stay-at-home order.

The new order is an extension of Walz’s initial order closing schools and restaurants until March 27. Initially, the MSHSL delayed spring sports scrimmages and games until April 6, but it soon became clear that resuming activities on that date was unlikely. Coaches already were bracing for a delay of several weeks.

“If we can get it started in late April or early May, hopefully we can salvage the season,” Brett Kosidowski said earlier this week. Kosidowski coaches several adapted sports teams in the Dakota United program.

If spring activities resume May 4, it would leave little time before the start of the postseason. Section boys tennis tournaments begin as early as May 11, with other sports beginning their postseasons soon after. State tournaments in tennis and softball are scheduled the first week of June, as is the state track and field meet. The final day of the state baseball and lacrosse tournaments is June 13.

The MSHSL statement did not address the possibility of pushing back the spring state tournaments.

“The Minnesota State High School League continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and the most current information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Office of the Governor,” the press release said. “The MSHSL supports the efforts of all students, staff and communities in limiting the spread of COVID-19. The goal of the MSHSL is to be responsive to member schools and keep future participation options open for the spring activity season.”

The pandemic affected several winter sports, causing the state girls basketball tournament to be canceled in the middle of the event. The state adapted floor hockey and boys basketball tournaments also were canceled.

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