Students in Iowa have fallen victim once again to the global pandemic related to the coronavirus.
On Friday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced during her daily press conference that schools in Iowa would remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. That announcement was followed by the Iowa Department of Education Director, Dr. Ann Lebo, making it official.
Later Friday afternoon the Iowa High School Athletic Association and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union released another joint statement.
“Following Friday’s recommendations to keep Iowa schools closed for the remainder fo the 2019-2020 school year due to the spread of novel coronavirus, all spring activities of the IGHSAU and IHSAA are canceled.” – IGHSAU and IHSAA Joint Statement
The two organizations have worked with schools, officials, venue sites, the governor’s office, and the department of education to get some sort of a spring sports season in. On April third the two organizations announced an updated spring schedule, that schedule would allow spring sports athletes to start practice on May 1st and competition for all sports besides soccer on May 4th. The schedule would allow soccer competition to start on May 8th.
“While we are disappointed that student-athletes will not have the opportunity to compete this spring, we remain committed to our primary goal of keeping students, coaches, officials, and communities safe.” – IHSAA Executive Director, Tom Keating
Their early April release though also stated that schools would need to return to school on May 1st.
“We understand the important role that athletics and activities play in the lives of our students, schools, and communities. But during this time of uncertainty, we must support the health and safety recommendations of our state and national leaders. This decision is especially heartbreaking for our senior competitors, and we thank them for all they have done to represent their schools throughout their careers.” – IGHSAU Executive Director, Jean Berger
In the 2018-2019 school year, the four spring sports accounted for over 45,000 participants among Iowa high school boys and girls. Track and field was the second most popular sport by participation for both the IHSAA (12,012 boys) and the IGHSAU (9,908 girls).
The release continued by saying, “The IGHSAU and IHSAA continue to encourage member schools and communities to follow the guidance of Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Public Health.”
Neither Governor Reynolds, Dr. Lebo, Jean Berger, or Tom Keating made any indication on the status of summer sports. Dr. Lebo mentioned in the press conference, and Jean Berger and Tom Keating mentioned in the press release that summer sports will continue to be suspended pending an assessment made in collaboration with state officials before June. Practice, competition, and postseason dates will be announced when they become available. Lake Mills’ Activities Director and IGHSAU Borad Member Jim Boehmer told KIOW recently that he believed even if schools don’t return, they could possibly have a summer sports season.
He continued by saying though he thinks they could still have a season, they wouldn’t go against state or national recommendations to do so.