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Sports >  High school sports

Idaho governing board suspends high school sports until April 5

UPDATED: Mon., March 16, 2020

Post Falls pitcher Brandon Haas pauses in frustration in an 11-1 loss to Coeur d'Alene in 2005. Idaho’s governing board suspended high school sports until April 5 due to the public health crisis. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Post Falls pitcher Brandon Haas pauses in frustration in an 11-1 loss to Coeur d'Alene in 2005. Idaho’s governing board suspended high school sports until April 5 due to the public health crisis. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

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In a memo to member schools on Monday, the Idaho High School Activities Association ( IHSAA) suspended sanctioned sports and activities, including meetings and practices, for all of its member schools effective March 17 through April 5.

Individual school districts had already announced closures due to the CDC recommendation to avoid mass gatherings due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but the directive of the IHSAA covers high school sports and activities throughout the state.

Unlike Washington, where Gov. Jay Inslee has closed all public and private schools through April 24, Idaho has yet to make that decision.

In a conference call with educators and state health officials on Sunday, Idaho Gov. Brad Little left the decision up to each district. During the call, health officials said Idaho Department of Health and Welfare “would prefer” if schools remained open.

Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls, Lakeland and Lewiston school districts are among those announcing closures, many to coincide or include spring breaks already on the school calendars.

“We’re just telling our coaches and players that this is all precautionary so that on April 6 we can start the season,” St. Maries (2A) activities director Todd Gilkey said. “It’ll be a shortened season but we want to get as much of the season as possible in.”

Gilkey said if and when schools are allowed to resume play, the emphasis will be to play as many league games as possible.

“In talking with the other ADs in my league, we’re hoping to just start wherever the date falls on our schedule and make sure we can get all our league games in with whatever time we have before school lets out.”

The IHSAA memo stated:

“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 prohibited from competing in games or contests and are not allowed to conduct practices in IHSAA sanctioned sports at any location.

Schools, coaches and student athletes are prohibited to hold sports-related meetings.

Schools are not to allow students or coaches at any IHSAA member school to use the school’s athletic facilities for practices, games or contests in any IHSAA sanctioned sport regardless of the affiliation (club or otherwise).

The use of athletic facilities for currently scheduled classes as a part of the regular school curriculum such as P.E. classes is allowed.

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