VPA officially cancels 2020 spring sports

The Essex High baseball field will have its tarp covers protecting the mound and home plate area for longer than hoped.

The tarps won’t be coming off the mounds this spring. The lacrosse fields won’t be freshly lined. Hurdles won’t be dragged out onto the track, and tennis courts won’t be swept in preparation for an opening serve.

That’s because the Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA) has officially decided to cancel the remainder of athletics schedules across the state for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic calendar, as announced Thursday morning.

“Given the Governor’s executive order ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ still extending at least through May 15, and with no known expectation to return to in-person school for the 2019-20 school year, the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 spring sports season has been made,” read an issued statement. “The VPA and the Activities Standards Committee have delayed as long as possible in hopes that some version of a season could be salvaged, but now it is too close to the end of the school year for that to occur.”

Some teams were set to start practicing as early as mid-March with regular season action scheduled for the beginning of April. The VPA initially cancelled the first few weeks of the spring as the state started to close--Governor Phil Scott issuing a ‘stay home’ directive before ordering school buildings to remain closed for the rest of the academic cycle on March 26.

The VPA reconvened April 14 to discuss the fate of spring sports after Scott extended his ‘stay home’ order to May 15 on April 10. At that time, the association chose to stick with its previously-set date of April 30 on which it would make a final decision regarding the rest of the spring schedules--holding onto final hopes that things may take a turn for the best and allow the student-athletes to participate in some form.

“The impact of COVID-19 has been felt worldwide,” the VPA statement added. “Our Vermont student athletes join the college, professional, and olympic athletes who are sidelined for the same reason this spring. We feel terribly for our Vermont student athletes who have been preparing for their 2020 spring sports season, and especially saddened for our 2020 seniors. Your sacrifice is unparalleled in Vermont sports’ history and is one that is quite literally saving lives. We are hopeful and confident that our shared sacrifices in social distancing this spring will ensure a safe return to in-person gatherings, celebrations, and extracurriculars for the fall season of 2020-21.”

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