PROVIDENCE – Remember Friday, Dec. 11 as the target date for R.I. high school winter sports teams to begin practicing?
Replace it with “TBA” since it falls under the two-week pause period that Gov. Gina Raimondo announced during her weekly coronavirus briefing on Thursday.
Additionally, the R.I. Interscholastic League communicated to principals and athletic directors that member schools are not to engage in any form of school sports activities from Monday through Sunday, Dec. 13.
“On behalf of the Principals’ Committee on Athletics, the RIIL will continue to work with the governor’s team and the Rhode Island Department of Health to establish a new winter sports start date when it is deemed safe and appropriate,” read an email from the league to schools on Thursday.
Officially, the governor’s two-week pause doesn’t begin until the Monday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 30) and concludes Dec. 13. At Monday’s RIIL Principals’ Committee meeting, a date of Friday, Jan. 8 was established as the earliest possible date to begin league games.
“We said that high school sports, the winter season, cannot start until January. We’re working with the league to establish what date in January that would be,” Raimond said during Thursday's news conference. “During the pause period, there can be nothing, including practices.”
It is possible that winter sports could begin practicing the week of Dec. 13 if the state’s coronavirus numbers take a turn for the better.
“We have to follow the state’s lead in every sector of society,” RIIL Executive Director Mike Lunney said. “We all have to do our part to get out of this as soon as we can.”
Indoor facilities such as gyms and ice rinks will be on hiatus from Nov. 30 until Dec. 13. The governor’s pause initiative has no bearing on college sports.