The New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association on Thursday became the second New England state to officially cancel its spring high school sports seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier in the afternoon, Gov. Chris Sununu announced that New Hampshire schools would continue remote learning until the end of the school year; an earlier plan called for schools to reopen on May 4.
New Hampshire boasts 49 varsity boys lacrosse programs and 47 varsity girls lacrosse programs across three divisions.
“In response to the recent Executive Order by New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu to continue remote instruction in New Hampshire schools throughout the remainder of the school year, the NHIAA Council has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 spring sports season and championships,” the NHIAA stated in a press release. “This decision was not made lightly given what athletics mean to the participants, parents and communities across the state.
“While it was our hope to salvage some portion of the spring season, the fact that schools will not reopen their doors to students this year and the uncertainty surrounding when or if social distancing guidelines will be lifted has made us face the stark reality that playing high school sports this spring is simply not an option. Rather, our focus in these most uncertain times must be to do everything we can to protect people from the pandemic and not contribute to the numbers who fall victim to the disease.”
Last Thursday, the Maine Principals’ Association announced the cancellation of its spring seasons, the first New England state to make that move.
In Massachusetts, the MIAA currently has May 4 set as a tentative start date for spring sports.
The NHIAA said it recognizes what the loss of sports seasons mean to student-athletes.
“We recognize and share in the pain and heartbreak this decision will cause to all student-athletes this spring, particularly the seniors,” the organization stated. “Having said this, it is our sincere hope that the actions taken today, along with the Governor’s orders and DHHS guidelines designed to slow the spread of this global pandemic, will enable schools to reopen this fall with face-to-face instruction and a full slate of athletic contests to be played and enjoyed by all.”