Spring sports practices for the four local high schools will be on hold as Rhode Island and Connecticut continue to deal with the coronavirus threat.
Westerly High and Chariho High will be out of school next week as a result of action taken by Gov. Gina Raimondo on Friday. The governor ordered school vacation week in April be moved to next week. Any extension would be determined by the end of next week.
Stonington High and Wheeler High will be out of school indefinitely, but for a minimum of two weeks.
No athletic activities will take place at the four schools during those time periods.
"That means no organized practices, no offseason lifts, no athletic activities for any Westerly public schools," Westerly athletic director Jamey Vetelino said.
Spring practice was scheduled to begin in Rhode Island on Monday. Baseball pitchers and catchers could have started on Saturday in Connecticut, with practices for the other sports beginning on March 23.
"It was definitely the right thing to do given everything that is going on with cancellations across the nation," Chariho athletic director Mike Shiels said. "Health is more important than games."
Shiels said it would likely be mid-April before games start if school resumes on March 23. Teams are required to have 10 days of practice before playing.
Shiels said that provision is especially important in a contact sport like boys lacrosse. He also said it is vital for pitchers in both baseball and softball.
"When you look at a contact sport, obviously it takes awhile to train their bodies to compete at a high level," Shiels said.
A meeting with league presidents and commissioners will take place Wednesday at the CIAC headquarters in Cheshire, Conn., to discuss the situation. Morrone, the ECC league president, will attend.
"Hopefully, we will have some direction from the state after that," Morrone said.
Canceling the spring season is still a definite possibility. Conducting an abbreviated season is another possibility.
"For the sake of the kids, especially the seniors, I hope we can have some semblance of a season," Morrone said. "We want the kids to have some sense of normalcy."
Morrone said an abbreviated season could happen.
"Not knowing any inkling of where this could go, if we started practice in mid-April and start competitions on May 1, we could get 10-15 games in," Morrone said. "I think if we can get 10 games in we would be good."
Shiels said an abbreviated season could work in Rhode Island, too. He said it would be different for some sports.
"I think it's more viable for some sports than others. You can't have four baseball and softball games in five days," Shiels said. "I think if everyone works together on this and is willing to compromise, we could make it work.
"But it's just unknown at this point. The most important thing is have everyone healthy and back in school."
In Rhode Island, the remaining games in the state basketball and hockey tournaments were canceled on Friday.
The 15th annual Stonington High School Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony scheduled for April 25 at the school was also canceled.