On Monday, the Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA) announced it has suspended all sanctioned sports and activities for its member schools effective for 20 days from Tuesday, March 17 through Sunday, April 5.

The governing body of Idaho high school athletics and activities said it was acting in response to concerns about Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and to best serve member schools, student participants, coaches and Idaho families.

IHSAA revealed its decision on its website (ihsaa.org) and through direct communications with its member schools and their administrators.

The message said, “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 provided further guidance on practices and games.

It said, “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.”

Wood River High School athletic and activities director Kevin Stilling provided further information related to COVID-19 and the Blaine County School District’s action last week to cancel school until April 6.

He said in an email to coaches, “During this time of school closure there are to be no practices or open gyms. As you realize we have suspended all athletic contests and competitions through Sunday, April 5.

“I have received several eager inquiries regarding open gyms and gatherings to stay prepared for spring sports. While we can’t control what kids do on their own time we are at this point not allowed to have formal meetings with our teams. This includes open gyms, weight room, and practices.

“I would encourage you, if you do have eager kids, to provide them with workouts they can do on their own to maintain conditioning as best they can during this uncertain time.”

Concluding its Monday announcement, the IHSAA stated, “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.”

The IHSAA had already announced the cancellation of its State Cheer and Dance Championships scheduled for March 20-21, and the postponement of its State Debate Championships March 13-14.

IHSAA stated it is still working on the possibility of combining the postponed State Debate Championships with the State Speech Championships originally scheduled for April 17-18.

Email the writer: sports@mtexpress.com

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