Wheeler's Julie Rudd rips a fly ball to center that drops for a hit during a game last May. Connecticut schools will be closed until at least May 20 putting the spring season in further jeopardy. Harold Hanka, The Westerly Sun

Wheeler's Julie Rudd rips a fly ball to center that drops for a hit during a game last May. Connecticut schools will be closed until at least May 20 putting the spring season in further jeopardy. Harold Hanka, The Westerly Sun

While the hope for spring high school sports still exists, the possibility of it happening in Connecticut took a bit of a hit on Thursday.

Gov. Ned Lamont announced that all state schools will be closed until May 20 due to the coronavirus pandemic. That date falls on the Wednesday before Memorial Day.

Student-athletes in Connecticut have been idle since postseason tournaments for winter sports were canceled on March 10 because of the coronavirus. The state closed schools on March 13, putting spring sports in limbo.

The Maine Principals Association on Thursday canceled all spring sports, becoming the first New England state to make such a move. The Maine commissioner of education recommended on Thursday that schools not reopen for the remainder of the school year.

Rhode Island has devised a plan that would have spring practice begin on May 4, with the first games scheduled for May 11. Massachusetts also has a plan to start on May 4. Both states would have the season end no later than June 27. 

Connecticut's last day for competing is June 13 and that date has not yet been extended.

Of course, all of the plans hinge on schools being in session.

Wheeler High Athletic Director Ellen Turner said the new deadline announced by Gov. Lamont makes the possibility of springs sports less feasible, but she is still hopeful some semblance of a season can take place.

"We would at least have another week of practice and athletes would not be fit to compete until after Memorial Day," Turner said. "It would give you four full weeks of a season. I think that would be great to get it in, I just don't know if it's feasible. I don't know if a week of practice is enough."

Turner said it would certainly be beneficial to have the students back in school and to have athletes competing.

"They need to have some sense of normalcy," Turner said.

The ECC athletic directors met via video conference on Thursday morning before Gov. Lamont's announcement. State administrators will be meeting with CIAC officials on Friday via video conference.

Turner is hopeful schools will have more direction after that meeting.

Turner said there are a myriad of issues that will have to be worked out.

"For example, what about insurance? Schools are still using distance learning and graduation could take place on time. What happens if a student graduates? Are they still covered by our insurance after that date if they are playing a sport?" Turner said. "St. Bernard's graduates the Friday before Memorial Day. How would that work for them?"

Turner, a physical education teacher at the school, emails her coaches once a week and keeps in contact with students via social media.

"You don't know how long this is going to go on. People may not be doing what they are supposed to be doing. They might let their guard down," Turner said. "It's just too bad."

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